May Fayre Crowning Glory for Town & Rose

Families came out in droves to enjoy the May Fayre in Market Place yesterday (Bank Holiday Monday). A really successful event and now a highlight for many in the Henley summer calendar thanks to Councillors Sarah Miller and David Eggleton who organise it.

Children were invited to enter the Coronation themed fancy dress competition with Rose, aged 6 dressed up as Queen being crowned the winner by the Henley Mayor.   Thirteen children entered the competition dressed as queens, knights, princesses, mermaids, and more. Mayor Michelle Thomas had a tough decision to make when singling out the winner from such a regal array of outfits. Michelle said she chose her Rosie’s costume because “There were Kings and Queens and knights and dragons, and I really love Queens.” Along with a certificate and a rosette, the Rosie won a jar of sweets. She said, “I’m going to give one to my brother because he asked!” A special prize was also awarded for creativity to a princess with colourful stripy face paint.

Henley Mayor, Michelle Thomas opened the fayre thanking everyone for coming before the children from Divas & Dudes Dance Academy performed the Maypole dance led by Anne Garrison and Steph Maxwell.

With bells and sticks, the Ellington Morris Dancers followed with a series of traditional dances accompanied by musicians on the accordion and violin.

Many local community groups had stalls to promote their organisations; The Royal Brisith Legion, RNLI, Henley Archaeological & Historical Group and The Young Farmers Group who had a competition to guess how many balloons where inside their tractor cab.  Sacred Heart Preschool Little Hearts also had a stall offering delicious home baked cakes and face painting. Young children enjoyed the train, tea cups and big wheel rides and there were side stalls to chance your luck – a coconut shy and hook a character.  Henley Fire Service offered the chance to get aboard the fire appliance and try on a firefighter’s heavy helmet.

John Green from the RBL said, “We’re here at the May Fayre, not on this occasion to ask for donations but to advertise the work that the Royal British Legion does. There’s been an incredible crowd of people taking information, because a lot still don’t know what we do. There are still 1.8 million veterans in this country, young boys who need help, and we raise money normally to help them. It’s been a good day, a lot of people have got information, and they say the sun shines on the righteous and it did for most of the day.  On the RBL stall there was a photo from 1998’s Remembrance Day and the Queen opening the River & Rowing Museum with John in both. John added, “She didn’t talk to me though. I was really miffed, she walked straight past me!”

The popular Bubble Fairy and Stilt Walker returned from Enchanted players to the delight of the youngsters.  Live musical entertainment was performed all afternoon with performances from The Laughing Ants, Bass & Jam, Blondie, Michelle B and Saxcelerate.

Mayor Michelle said, “I’m so glad that a few years ago we decided to bring this event back to the town centre where it belongs and has been adopted by Henley Town Council.  Everyone has worked really hard to make this happen this afternoon.  It’s not something that happens overnight we plan for this a year in advance.  Well done to everyone involved including the retailers and hospitality who have stayed open and all the participants. It’s a fun packed afternoon.”

Afterwards Sarah Miller said, “I had a ball on Monday, and judging by the happy faces from the thousands who attended, I think they did too.  It really was a lovely day from start to finish.  We had a variety of children’s rides and fun stalls, including the Kiln ceramic cafe which was buzzing with kids painting.  And the wonderful bubble fairy who walked around the Market Place like the pied piper, followed by lots of excited children watching in amazement as she blew gigantic colourful bubbles. The Maypole Dancers from local schools including Rupert House was a great way to kick start the day.  Steph Maxwell from Divas and Dudes and Anne Garrison did a fabulous job teaching the little ones the dance, and it was lovely to watch.  The Ellington Morris dancers drew a large crowd and entertained everybody with their groovy moves and stick banging. But for me, the star of the day was Blondie, a fabulous soul singer who encouraged the children to dance alongside her.  All in all another successful May Fayre.  I would like to thank the Mayor,  Michelle Thomas, Hugh Legh, David Eggleton, Nicci Taylor, Parks Services and of course Henley Town Council – their help and support on the day was invaluable. And of course to all those who came along to support this event, thank you!”

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