Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Fair Success!

Geoff Russell opening the event

Despite the threats from the weather forecast, the summer fair went down a storm! (pardon the pun) . We had about 500 people who braved the weather to see what the day had in store.  Luckily for them (and us) we only had one short shower all day.  Market Drayton's very own Town Crier, Geoff Russell, opened the event for us - he was almost as loud as Chris Eldon Lee on the tannoy!

Ellesmere spinners guild
By 9.30, all the stall holders were set up in the farmers’ market and craft fair and with 25 stalls to peruse, there was a lot to choose from. The Ellesmere spinners taught a few people, young and old how to get yarn from fleece; Alistair Dargue intrigued people with his spoon carving and the Victorian Farm Butter company created some fresh, handmade butter the traditional way – using double cream, salt and lots of elbow grease!
Making butter - the hard way.

Kylie & Thomas holding the snake that I stroked
Simon Airy and his exotic pets kept crowds entertained for hours... and hours! He was informative and funny, both children and adults loved him and his pets, even the stall holders said they enjoyed listening to him and that they learnt something new.  I stroked a snake, I was too scared to hold it though!

Kaleidoscope Theatre

Kaleidoscope Theatre pulled at the heart strings with some beautiful performances, the young actors had the crowd captivated and throughout the day, I heard so many people comment on how much they enjoyed watching them perform.

May Pole dancing
Maggie Love got everyone going in circles, dancing around the may pole to some traditional folk music played by Geoff Turner on his hurdy-gurdy!

In the picnic area, children had the chance to create some wildlife masterpieces out of clay and do some bug hunting at the same time!  In the pig arc, Andy Hawkins was telling some very exciting stories and slowly pulling the crowds his way.
Off for a ride - hold tight!
All day long, the tractor trundled around the farm with trailer loads of people enjoying the sites and stories of Fordhall.  For those who wanted to explore on foot, Wrekin Orienteers had set up a course for people to try not to get too lost on!  And if you made it down to the River Tern, Peter Dykes was giving people a go at fishing.  Younger adventurers could take a ride on a donkey through Fordhall's fields.

A big, big thank you to all the volunteers who came and worked hard all day – without them the event just wouldn’t work!  Also, thank you to all stall holders, demonstrators and entertainers who came, the event was a great success! 

Until next year…

Becca, Activities Coordinator

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Fair Fun!

The preparation is underway for the Summer Fair to be held this Sunday (24th) 10am-4pm. There will be a Farmers’ Market and Craft Fair alongside an array of other activities for the whole family!

As well as a large variety of stalls in the vibrant farmers’ market and craft fair, there will be a chance to try fishing on the River Tern, take a donkey ride, see the sights of Fordhall on a tractor ride and learn how to dance around the maypole to some authentic folk music.

Simon Airey with his exotic pets
Simon Airey will be here with his exotic animals and not too far away Hawks on Walks will be showing their birds of prey. Kaleidoscope theatre will be entertaining with their amazing mime performances, there will be lots of games and races to take part in and of course there is always the annual Welly Wanging competition – how far can you wang your welly?

Sack Race!

The brand new Fordhall Farm catering trailers will be out serving mouth-watering hog roast and burgers and for those who prefer something sweet the Fordhall tea and cake stall will have delicious home-made cakes for sale too.
Donkey Rides

Folk music

We have a brilliant team of staff and volunteers helping to make this event a great success, they are doing everything from manning the car park to baking cakes!

Any funds raised will be recycled back into our education programme, giving more children the chance to learn about food and farming!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Defenders of the Earth at Fordhall Farm

This weekend we had a fantastic group of volunteers on one of our Get Mucky weekends! They spent the whole weekend working hard to tidy up parts of Fordhall Farm and enrich the sensory experience in the ‘pignic’ area and woodland.

Pat preparing to feed the pigs.
One big job of the weekend was litter picking, also known as “defending the earth”! The job was to clear the rubbish that had been fly-tipped in a far field of the farm about 10 years ago. This took most of the volunteers most of the weekend, but they got it almost all done, which has allowed us to open up the 3rd walk around the farm, Arthur’s Trail.
Nettle clearing in the woodland

The other big job that was taken on this weekend was tree rescuing. In February, we planted a whole load of trees for the Jubilee. Since then, the nettles and vegetation have grown and taken over the young trees’ space. The volunteers dug and tugged and managed to clear the space, giving the trees a chance to get the nutrients from the ground and allowed the light to reach them.

Alongside these jobs, we repaired a water butt, built stepping stones, painted non-slip paint on bridges, prepared planters, fixed picnic benches, mowed the grass and created a musical washing line!
The Golden Girls

Tired but happy volunteers!
I think this last job had some input from almost every volunteer of the weekend, led mostly by “the Golden Girls” from London and Wiltshire. We used spare bits of junk to create a fun new activity for children in the ‘pignic’ area. Who knew a few bits of junk and a wooden spoon could be so much fun!? This weekend proves you can be any age to volunteer at Fordhall Farm, with age ranges from 10 to 77, everyone mucked in and everyone had fun, thank you all :-)
Our first visitor making music!

Why not come and see all the progress that has been made at our Summer Fair on June 24th. The event runs from 10am-4pm (entry £3). There will be tractor rides, donkeys, a maypole, face painting, pond dipping and more.
Our 'pignic' area is also open, with our farm trails, shop and tearoom Tues - Sun.