Tag Archives: Events
The weather is changing and the nights are getting lighter, which can only mean one thing…summer. And with summer comes festivals, in particular food festivals, and we have gathered some of the best to consider.
Music or Not?
The Big Feastival is taking place on Alex James’ Farm in the Cotswolds from Friday 23 August to Monday 26. It will welcome some of the world’s top chefs. They will demonstrate their expertise in cooking skills live on The NEFF Big Kitchen stage. Raymond Blanc and Tom Brown are just two of the names who will headline, together with a host of music acts including the Zutons, Elbow and the Fun Lovin Criminals. Look out for the Collaboration Kitchen. Here special edition dishes will be served up with all proceeds going to Charity Partner, Action Against Hunger.
The Food Rocks festival will take place on 7-8 September 2019 in Lyme Regis. This presents some of the best food, producers and suppliers that Dorset and the South West has to offer. The festival brings together top chefs, exhibitors, locals. The main stage will showcase a diverse mix of interactive cookery demonstrations, talks and tastings across the weekend. Highlights include the Glenarm Estate beef supper club and the crab and mackerel supper club
Venue-based Food Festivals
Smoked & Uncut at THE PIG near Bath on 15 June features a line-up of handpicked classic and contemporary artists, including Imelda May and the Kaiser Chiefs, home-made festi-food, local ales and cocktails. Family style feasts will feature heavily with the focus on alfresco dining under canvas. While Mark’s ‘Ruby Murray House’ which will be dishing up indulgent home-style Indian curry.
24 and 25 August sees The River Cottage Festival taking place at River Cottage HQ, Axminster with food, music, talks, master-classes and a host of children’s activities. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free food will be available and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall himself will be in attendance.
Coming Together Locally in May
Moving across the border, the Caernarfon Food Festival is on May 11 2019. It promises to be “perfect for foodies to explore the food and drink producers from the local area.” The event will feature market stalls of food and drink, live cooking demonstrations and freshly cooked street food, celebrating local food and drink produce. There will also be live music from local bands, artists and choirs.
Also in May (18-19) is the Spring Tide Food Festival on Hive Beach near Bridport. This is a food festival jam-packed full of activities and things to eat and drink. The aim of the festival is to combine the network of artisan food and drink producers from Somerset, East Devon and Dorset to “welcome in the new season of food and ingredients in style, to celebrate the pleasure that can be had in the growing and cultivation, the production and cooking and consumption of tasty food and drink.”
Any Reason to Hold a Festival?
Finally, there must be a mention of the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling on May 27, 2019 when a 4kg cheese is thrown off a terrifyingly steep hill chased by people in Brockworth, Gloucester. In theory, the aim of cheese-rolling is to be the first person to catch the wheel of cheese; but nowadays, the majority of people participate in the event to raise money for local charities and other good causes.
Lots of food festivals this summer in the South West of England and South Wales. So if you’re a catering business, think what food festival could you hold this summer to boost trade? Or where you might go as a mobile caterer?
11 November 2018 marks a significant date in the history of the world. At 11 o’clock on the 11th day of the 11th month, the First World War – the Great War – ended. Germany signed the armistice prepared by Britain and France and the guns fell silent. Britain, France and all of the countries that supported them, celebrated the end of a heinous war that lasted four years and four months. Millions died, not only in battle but from the terrible living conditions they faced during that time.
Since then, the red poppy has become a symbol of peace and remembrance used since 1921 to commemorate military personnel who have died in war. It was inspired by the WWI poem In Flanders Fields then adopted by military veterans’ groups in parts of the British Empire and then throughout the world.
Lest We Forget
Remembrance Day 2018 commemorations will take on a special centenary meaning for all those involved. Across the country, beacons will be lit and special services taking place to mark the 100 years since the end of the war. Weymouth is conducting a Beacon Lighting event, known nationally as the `Battles Over’ taking place at the Nothe Fort starting at 6pm on 11 November. The event will feature performances from the Bovington Military Wives Choir and the Decadettes followed by a service and will encompass elements of the traditional Remembrance Service normally held at Holy Trinity Church.
In Wales, Gwent’s St Woolos Cathedral will host a free day of events to mark the centenary with music from the U3A choir, Newport rugby club choir, and the local Boys’ Brigade band. Re-enactments will include a World War One surgeon, a Monmouthshire Regiment infantryman, and a member of the Royal Flying Corps. Caerleon Remembers will mark the centenary with a tribute of words and music from local choirs as well as an exhibition. The concert will take place on Saturday, November 10 from 7pm at St Cadoc’s Church. 100 red poppies will also be seen on the Wales Air Ambulance (WAA) aircraft as a sign of respect.
Poppy of Honour 2018
In Wincanton, a commemorative Poppy of Honour has already been unveiled. Over 250,000 individual volunteers and businesses have joined forces to create an eight-foot steel and glass poppy-shaped sculpture, the first memorial of its kind, dedicated to the 1,117,635 British and Commonwealth service personnel, killed or declared missing in action in the war. 1,117,635 individual poppies are contained within, all labelled with the details of the men and women who died. In early 2019, the Poppy will embark on a major tour around the United Kingdom and Southern Ireland, before being displayed at the Tower of London.
And in Bristol, The Bristol Festival of Remembrance will take place at Bristol Cathedral on 10 November, presented by Terry Waite CBE. The evening begins with orchestral pieces, choral works, readings and a performance by local children, and the night will finish with a performance of Karl Jenkins’ The Peacemakers, a piece dedicated to all those who have lost their lives during armed conflict. On 11 November, also at Bristol Cathedral is Duruflé’s Requiem performed by Bristol Cathedral Choir. Admission is free.
Finally, the annual act of remembrance at Wells Cathedral this year will feature John Rutter’s Requiem, a free event taking place from 3-4pm on 11 November followed by a devotional service, interspersed with War Poetry.
A recent report from Pulse reveals that events have now become a rich tool for marketing organisations.
Experience-driven marketing is the way forward apparently, with people preferring a sense of “camaraderie and shared culture. Why eat luxury cheese at home when you could tap into a community of cheese lovers at a festival or pop-up marketplace?”
80% of millennials reported that they would prefer to make sacrifices of material or luxury goods to participate in experience-driven exercises. This is very welcome news in particular for the festival industry.
The report continues to say that more creative events in increasingly creative spaces have become the norm in 2018. Passive marketing techniques which were previously employed are now being replaced with “more personable, and intimate event spaces… as brands look to engage each individual customer.”
More than 7,000 major outdoor events are held each year. Outdoor events cover all activities from major festivals, agricultural shows, sporting and charity events through to small village and craft events.
Following the Olympics in 2012, the UK has established itself as a world leader in outdoor events. Now many UK companies export their events industry expertise. The sector has witnessed huge growth; between 2005 and 2009 there was an average annual increase of more than 1.64M adults attending outdoor events in the UK.
Festival Food Trends
One trend that has expanded over the years and has now become a sophisticated part of festivals is catering. Once upon a time, when festivals started, visitors were lucky to find anything more than a greasy burger or a curled up sandwich. Those days, however, are long gone. Today the culinary credentials of a festival have become increasingly important, and this is an accelerating trend.
Chief Executive of the Association of Independent Festivals, Paul Reed says that spending on food and drink at independent festivals was 36% higher in 2017 than in 2008. “Customer expectations have shifted considerably and, in some cases, food and beverage options can be as important as the music and arts programming itself,” he comments.
In March 2018, CGA Strategy, a consumer research group, published a report on festival-goers’ attitudes towards food and drink based on 5,000 interviewees.
The research revealed that the range of food and drink was an important factor when choosing which festivals to attend. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents (61%) cited “a diverse selection of food and drink stalls” as a significant factor when choosing a festival.
On average, a music festival ticket cost £150. This is a significant amount and attendees expect a more luxurious experience. In addition, and more importantly, they also bring the cash to pay for it. Thus festival organisers are placing more emphasis upon the catering, from gourmet burgers to fresh, healthy smoothies, sushi and vegan options.
For the catering fraternity in the events industry, the options are endless and accelerating to provide a variety of food for every palate.
It’s time to start trading Panini stickers! After the excitement of the FA Cup, the Champions League Final and the domestic playoffs, we can now sit back and look forward to the next great sporting event, the FIFA Russia World Cup.
There is a feeling that this year, the anticipation is somewhat muted. Perhaps it’s too soon after the Euros when the England team was humiliated by a bunch of Scandinavian part timers with their chilling Viking thunder clap. Whatever the reason, the Russia World Cup starts next week and the strains of Three Lions will surely be heard in pubs and homes around the country.
Harry Kane leads the team as captain, a position which has been bestowed on many but successfully fulfilled by few. And here’s a couple of pub quiz facts for you: the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ teams provide 17 of the 23 players chosen by Southgate and Manchester United holds the record as the only club represented in every England football tournament squad since 1950.
Teams that should have but didn’t qualify include Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Scotland, Turkey, United States and Wales.
Group Stages of Russia World Cup 2018
For those who want to organise their events and viewing in advance, here is the schedule.
- Thursday June 14 Russia v Saudi Arabia (A) Moscow (Luzhniki) 4pm
- Friday June 15 Egypt v Uruguay (A) Ekaterinburg 1pm; Morocco v Iran (B) St Petersburg 4pm; Portugal v Spain (B) Sochi 7pm
- Saturday June 16 France v Australia (C) Kazan 11am; Argentina v Iceland (D) Moscow (Spartak) 2pm; Peru v Denmark (C) Saransk 5pm; Croatia v Nigeria (D) Kaliningrad 8pm
- Sunday June 17 Costa Rica v Serbia (E) Samara 1pm; Germany v Mexico (F) Moscow (Luzhniki) 4pm; Brazil v Switzerland (E) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
- Monday June 18 Sweden v South Korea (F) Nizhny Novgorod 1pm; Belgium v Panama (G) Sochi 4pm; Tunisia v England (G) Volgograd 7pm
- Tuesday June 19 Poland v Senegal (H) Moscow (Spartak) 1pm; Colombia v Japan (H) Saransk 4pm; Russia v Egypt (A) St Petersburg 7pm
- Wednesday June 20 Portugal v Morocco (B) Moscow (Luzhniki) 1pm; Uruguay v Saudi Arabia (A) Rostov-on-Don 4pm; Iran v Spain (B) Kazan 7pm
- Thursday June 21 France v Peru (C) Ekaterinburg 1pm; Denmark v Australia (C) Samara 4pm; Argentina v Croatia (D) Nizhny Novgorod 7pm
- Friday June 22 Brazil v Costa Rica (E) St Petersburg 1pm; Nigeria v Iceland (D) Volgograd 4pm; Serbia v Switzerland (E) Kaliningrad 7pm
- Saturday June 23 Belgium v Tunisia (G) Moscow (Spartak) 1pm; Germany v Sweden (F) Sochi 4pm; South Korea v Mexico (F) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
- Sunday June 24 England v Panama (G) Nizhny Novgorod 1pm; Japan v Senegal (H) Ekaterinburg 4pm; Poland v Colombia (H) Kazan 7pm
- Monday June 25 Uruguay v Russia (A) Samara 3pm; Saudi Arabia v Egypt (A) Volgograd 3pm; Spain v Morocco (B) Kaliningrad 7pm; Iran v Portugal (B) Saransk 7pm
- Tuesday June 26 Denmark v France (C) Moscow (Luzhniki) 3pm; Australia v Peru (C) Sochi 3pm; Nigeria v Argentina (D) St Petersburg 7pm; Iceland v Croatia (D) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
- Wednesday June 27 South Korea v Germany (F) Kazan 3pm; Mexico v Sweden (F) Ekaterinburg 3pm; Serbia v Brazil (E) Moscow (Spartak) 7pm; Switzerland v Costa Rica (E) Nizhny Novgorod 7pm
- Thursday June 28 Japan v Poland (H) Volgograd 3pm; Senegal v Colombia (H) Samara 3pm; England v Belgium (G) Kaliningrad 7pm; Panama v Tunisia (G) Saransk 7pm
Knock Out Rounds
LAST 16 (3pm and 7pm)
Saturday June 30: Sunday July 1: Monday July 2: Tuesday July 3
QUARTER-FINALS (3pm and 7pm)
Friday July 6: Saturday July 7
Tuesday July 10: Wednesday July 11
THIRD-PLACE PLAY-OFF (3pm)
Saturday July 14
Sunday July 15
All that remains is to wish the England team the best of luck and please, no penalty shootouts. And for all of those in the catering businesses organising Russia World Cup related events good luck.
That’s right you go to the biggest event in the country, where both types of catering businesses delivered royally.
MD Helen Hagger, as usual, was well prepared with a plan leaving nothing to chance. She travelled to a hotel in Slough West on Friday night with Allison, her friend of 35 years.
The alarm was set for 4.20 a.m in good time for the booked taxi to arrive at 5 am. Then a half hour trip to a misty Windsor; already rich with a promise of a beautiful day for the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Celebrities Around the World
She was in good time to set up the front row directly behind Sky News and opposite ITV News. Perfectly placed for Allison’s and Helen’s image to be beamed around the world for the almost 2B viewers, among the enthusiastic crowd shots and scene-setting.
It was certainly a great place for celebrity spotting.
Not forgetting Rational’s own Chef and Bert, who being prepared, Helen had brought along for the great day.
Crowd Control for Event Success
The crowds began to build once the first trains started to arrive in Windsor around 6 a.m. The atmosphere was amazing and the weather was glorious. And there to protect all were the police using the latest crowd science training developed to respond to various terrorist threats by the College of Policing.
Thames Valley Police were supported by 100’s of police officers drafted in from various police forces. Being there for six hours, Helen had many officers stand in front of her. All were brilliant, happy to chat to the crowd and delighted to be working at such a prestigious event.
The final officer during the actual procession was Slough Police’s Commander. She had just volunteered to man the procession route as a regular police officer and was not in charge on the day.
Sadly all the officers were ordered to face the crowds to ensure there were no incidents. So they were unable to see any of the Royal Wedding procession. Rather like those many catering businesses across the country who are fundamental to the success of an event, but are too busy working to fully enjoy it.
It’s getting close to one of the biggest summer events of the year. Now people are deciding where they are going to be. In the pub? With friends? A street party? Yes, it’s the annual FA Cup Final on May 19. And apparently there’s the little matter of a Royal Wedding in London on the same day!
Hot on the heels of the birth of Prince Louis, the Royals will yet again be forced into the spotlight. Every aspect of the bride will be scrutinised from dress, shoes, hair and makeup to bridesmaids and family members. In parallel with the infamous Edward VIII, the global scrutiny will yet again be on an American divorcee’s influence on the Royal family. It will be a day to remember.
Festivals and Events
The wedding heralds the arrival of the summer entertainment season, with festivals and events happening all around the South West and Wales. There’s plenty to choose from.
If you are looking for something a bit different, try the Pop-up Pandas art installation at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park with over 100 painted pandas to discover. Each panda is hand-painted. Themes range from different artistic styles and elements of Chinese culture to English seasonal events and clothing traditions. The exhibition opens on 5 May.
How about celebrating Somerset Day? Held on May 11th, it honours King Alfred the Great’s routing of the Vikings from his Somerset stronghold in May 878? The day is actually more like a week. So there is plenty to do, from the Cheese and Cider Night at Wincanton Racecourse to the Great Somerset Tea Party.
The Foodies Festival, the UK’s biggest food festival returns to Durdham Downs, Bristol from May 11-13, featuring Great British Bake Off winners baking live in The Cake & Desserts Theatre and top local chefs cooking their signature recipes in the Stoves Chefs Theatre. There are workshops galore including Prosecco and parmesan tasting, beer and chocolate tasting. As well as talks on the power of plant-based proteins and Kombucha.
Since being founded in 2004 as part of the Cowbridge Charter Trust’s 750-year celebrations, Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival has grown from a one-day event to a whole weekend of foodie family fun. Now it has over 100 food and drink exhibitors, food demonstrations, musical entertainment. All spread around the town of Cowbridge.
If you are looking for somewhere later in the summer, make your way to Wales for the Big Cheese 27 to 29 July. Set in one of Europe’s largest castles, Caerphilly hosts an extravaganza of street entertainers, living history encampments, music, dance, traditional funfair, folk dancing, falconry, fire eating, minstrels, and troubadours. Attracting over 80,000 people annually, the Big Cheese weekend is a free event.
So what do all these summer events have in common (apart from the wedding!)? Each took a local interest, turned it into a reason to celebrate and then into an annual event. Often it’s a group of businesses coming together for mutual benefit.
Yes summer events might be hassle to organise. But much like Christmas they provide valuable revenue and profit for the catering trade.
We also have the Winter Olympics in South Korea and the Invictus Games in Australia and loads of other sporting attractions.
However, 2018 also promises to be a huge year for the Royal family, with an eagerly anticipated wedding between the world’s most eligible bachelor and a glamorous American actress and the birth of the fourth in line to the throne.
Listed below are some sporting and other interesting events in chronological order: start booking those days off well in advance or prepare events for your customers:
Jan 15-28 Tennis Australia Open, Melbourne, Australia
Jan 15 World Religion Day
Jan 25 Burns Night
Jan 25-28 Extreme Sports Winter X Games 22, Aspen, Colorado, USA
Jan 26 Australia Day
Feb 4 Gridiron/Football, Super Bowl , Minneapolis, Minnesota
Feb 9-25 Multi-sports, Winter Olympics, Pyeongchang, South Korea
Feb 13 Shrove Tuesday
Feb 14 Ash Wednesday, Lent begins
Feb 16 Chinese New Year , Year of the Dog
Feb 28 – Mar 4 Cycling World Track Championships , Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
March 1 St David’s Day, Wales
March 9-18 Multi-sports, Winter Paralympics, Pyeongchang, South Korea
March 17 St Patrick’s Day, Ireland
March 21 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
March 30 Good Friday
Apr 1 Easter Sunday
Apr 5-8 Golf Masters, Augusta, USA
April 4-15 Multi-sports Commonwealth Games , Gold Coast, Australia
Apr 14 Horse Racing, Grand National, Aintree, Liverpool
Apr 23 St George’s Day, England
May 16 Ramadan begins
May 19 Royal Wedding , Windsor
May 19 Football FA Cup final. Wembley Stadium, London
May 26 Football UEFA Champions League Final, Kiev, Ukraine
May 27-Jun 10 Tennis French Open, Paris, France
14 Jun -15 Jul Football FIFA World Cup, Russia
15 Jun Eid al Fitr, end of Ramadan
Jul 7-29 Cycling, Tour de France
Jun 14–17 Golf, US Open , New York
Jul 2 Tennis, Wimbledon
Jul 19-22 Golf, British Open , Carnoustie, Scotland
July 20-22 Rugby World Cup Sevens, San Francisco, U.S.A.
Jul 21-Aug 5 Hockey World Cup, Women, London, England
Aug 4-12 Multi-sports, Gay Games, Paris, France
Aug 16-19 Golf, US PGA, Town and Country, Missouri
Aug 18-Sep 2 Multi-sports, Asian Games, Jakarta, Indonesia
Aug 27 Tennis, US Open, New York, USA
Sep 1-9 Rowing 2018 World Rowing Championships, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Sep 9 Rosh Hashanah/Jewish New Year
Sep 11-23 Multi-sports, Summer Youth Olympics, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sep TBC Multi-sports, Invictus Games, Sydney, Australia
Sep 28-30 Golf, Ryder Cup , Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France
Oct 25 – Nov 3 Gymnastics, World Championships (Artistic), Doha, Qatar
Nov 6 Horse Racing, Melbourne Cup, Victoria, Australia
Nov 7 Deepavali (also known as Diwali), Festival of Lights
Nov 24-Dec 16 Hockey (Field) World Cup – Men, Bhubaneswar, India
Dec 7-11 Swimming, World Swimming Championships, Hangzhou, China
Don’t forget that while this is the World Events Calendar 2018, there are lots of local events and celebrations around which to create a theme.
World War I claimed the lives of over 41 million people across the globe. This makes it one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. At least 2 million died from diseases and 6 million went missing, presumed dead. One third of all casualties resulted from the 1918 flu pandemic. In military terms, more than 8.7 million men served in the British Army at some time during the four year conflict.
Throughout the years, Remembrance Day has been marked with events from services to exhibitions to concerts and this year is no different. However, many events are now giving the public the opportunity to view them for longer than the traditional Remembrance timescale.
Arts Remembrance Events
On 1 July 2016, over 1400 voluntary participants in WWI uniform appeared unexpectedly in locations across the UK. This was a reminder of the 19,240 men killed exactly one hundred years previously on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Having travelled across Wales, the exhibition will be based at the Theatre Royal Plymouth from 6 to 25 November 2017 and then Aberystwyth Arts Centre from 20 January to 14 April 2018.
In Bristol at the Hippodrome Theatre, the touring show War Horse will be running from 18 October to 11 November 2017. Michael Morpurgo’s tale of bravery, loyalty, and the extraordinary bond between a young recruit and his horse is set in the First World War.
Actors work with life-sized puppets by the internationally renowned Handspring Puppet Company. The author discovered that over a million horses died in the war just on the British side with most of the surviving animals sold off after the war was over to French butchers. This became the inspiration for his book and subsequent play.
In Bovington, Dorset, the Tank Museum is hosting the official remembrance service on behalf of the Bovington Garrison on 12 November 2017. This is attended by serving soldiers, veterans and their families as well as being open to visitors. A wreath laying ceremony will take place at the Royal Armoured Corps Memorial, outside the Museum. There may be a shortage of space but the Tank Museum itself is home to many historic vehicles from the WWI era and is worth a visit. New this year is the Tiger Tank Collection, where in a world first, the Tank Museum has brought every member of the Tiger Tank family together in one display.
On 7 November 2017, the Senedd in Cardiff is hosting a talk from Professor Alan Llwyd for the fourth annual First World War commemorative lecture. Alan Llwyd’s lecture will commemorate the life and work of Hedd Wyn, a centenary on from his death. Poet Hedd Wyn was tragically killed during WWI at the Battle of Passchendaele. He posthumously won the Chair at the Birkenhead National Eisteddfod in 1917.
On Remembrance Sunday, churches and communities throughout the UK will be honouring the fallen and injured of all wars and conflicts. Thus continuing a celebration of the lives of those who fought in the First World War; a tradition that has lasted a century.
So far the summer has been a success with hundreds of events being staged across the South West and people enjoying a few good weeks of sun. Now all schools have broken up and the annual problem of what to do with the kids is yet again frustrating parents. Now is the time to check out the many South West summer events of which here is a sample.
A well-hidden treasure is to be found at Morwellham Quay, a beautifully preserved Victorian village in Devon. This is a World Heritage site on the River Tamar, which features an historic port, a village and a copper mine.
However, Morwellham is better known for its narrow-gauge Mine Railway, which transports visitors along the banks of the Tamar and into the George and Charlotte copper mine. Here, the past is brought to life with real insights into the working conditions of Victorian miners. From 12 – 13 August, the venue is holding a Summer Festival of Steam Punk, celebrating the anniversary of Queen Victoria’s visit featuring music, dancing and lots of other events.
Glastonbury Abbey is hosting a King Arthur Workshop throughout the month of August which is guaranteed to keep the younger and older members of the family interested. Members of the Living History Team will be offering King Arthur-themed interactive family drama workshops, travelling back in time to the days of the Round Table and Excalibur. The event promises to be great fun for the whole family who can discover the past in unique style and see the myths and legends of Arthurian times from a new angle. The event runs on various dates from 1 – 29 August.
The ‘Midsummer Mayhem’ Family Fun Day is taking place on 5 August at The Bishops Palace in Wells Somerset. The South Lawn will be given over to the annual day with games for all ages, a bouncy castle, dressing up, face painting, crafts and activities and whether you bring a picnic or enjoy the food from The Bishop’s Table, the event is expected to draw large crowds.
Dip into the Arts
If however, you want some quality adult time for yourself, then take yourself down to the Iford Arts Festival, an internationally renowned event taking place in the Peto Garden of Iford Manor, near Bath in the South West of England.
According to the website, “captivating and intimate opera performances are staged in-the-round for an audience of 90 in the miniature Italianate cloister and are all sung in English.” Informal promenades are on offer together with seated cloister concerts are part of the festival programme and the award winning gardens present the perfect backdrop.
Finally, make a note in your diaries (4 November) for the Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival, the UK’s largest winter carnival. It has its roots back in the 1600s, when the people of Somerset took effigies of Guy Fawkes to be burnt after the foiled Gunpowder plot. Nowadays, the procession comprises over 100 bright floats, music and dancing and is visited by crowds of up to 150,000, who all stay around until the procession ends to watch ‘squibbing’, described as “an explosive tradition where hundreds of fireworks on sticks are held out along the road, giving the effect of light raining down.”
There are so many South West summer events, why not take advantage of the events on offer and take a day out to visit the region to see for yourself.
In 2015, hordes of Gromits were spotted in Bristol as part of the Bristol Children’s Hospital’s Grand Appeal. They raised money for the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and St Michael’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (Special Care Baby Unit).
Now it’s the turn of the people of the Cotswolds to expect something unusual in their towns and villages. This time, there are hares; lots of hares. The Cotswold Hare Trial is a trail of public art sculptures of over 80 five-foot high hares, decorated by professional, amateur and community group artists.
Aimed at raising public awareness for creativity in the everyday world, the sculptures are strategically placed across 28 towns and villages throughout the Cotswolds for six months.
The Cotswold Hare initiative has been warmly embraced by local businesses and community organisations. It has created an accessible open-air art gallery in the region. The Cotswolds covers almost 800 square miles and runs through the counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.
Not only is the art visually accessible, but the hares can be touched and people are encouraged to handle and engage with the art. According to the organisers of the March Hare Trail, “the hares are designed to promote an emotional response with people expressing a wide range of positive reactions. Their engagement is often felt moving many to tears and enabling people to connect to the pieces through their feelings.”
Children in particular are enjoying the hares. Some of the hares have been designed and decorated by school children from nursery age to the students in higher education. At the end of the festival, an auction of the sculptures will be held, with art auctions houses and art galleries across the UK and abroad following its progress.
“This enables us to put back money into the community which has supported us. This year National Star and local museums being the beneficiaries of our net profits. The Festival retains its not-for-profit status returning any monies raised back into the project,” comment the organisers.
For inns, pubs and restaurants around the area, the festival is a welcome tourist attraction, enticing visitors from far and wide. It offers the opportunity for many establishments whom AC Services supports such as the Inn at Fossebridge and the Crown of Crucis in Cirencester as well as the Egypt Mill in Nailsworth to open their doors to those on the trail of hares.
Both Royal Oak, Tetbury and Old Bell, Malmesbury are sponsoring hares. We hope they have as much fun as we did when we sponsored our Gromit. Without the sponsors there would be no trail and a lot less fun to be had by all.
Finding a route
One of our team has already started to work out a route to tick off a number of our customers and hares. He starts at the Sixteen Restaurant & Café, Witney, then to the Angel Inn, Burford before heading north to Stow on the Wold (No 4 @ Stow) and Broadway’s Dormy House Hotel and Russells.
Then a little west to Winchcombe (the Lion Inn) before the spa splendour of Cheltenham’s Daffodil and Wild Beer Co. South to Stroud (Bisley House Café) before arriving in the Capital of the Cotswolds, Cirencester. Its 20 hares would account for a day themselves. His route ends in Tetbury’s Priory Inn!
Thankfully our engineers don’t usually cover so many clients in one trip. And it would be silly not to spend some time with each hare on the way and visit their sponsors.
“Events such as the Cotswold Hare are welcomed by our Cotswold customers as visitors can see for themselves the beauty and hospitality of the Cotswold communities from hamlets to cities,” comments Helen Hagger of AC Services (Southern). The festival runs until September with the auction taking place in October.