Never has the weather forecast been scrutinised more thoroughly: in the week before, the chart was a constant parade of ominous grey clouds with raindrops slanting miserably out of them. Six am on the day, with nervous anticipation, the curtains were drawn back, to reveal clear skies and the sun, peeping through the scudding white clouds. Strike One for the Food Fair Effect!
Gathering on the forecourt at 8am, was a cheerful band of cooks, carrot peelers and bottle-washers; tents to put up, with tables to erect and delicious hand-made produce to display. Would anyone turn up? Had anyone seen the posters or read one of the 7000 fliers? What was that enormous banner for, flapping in the wind? Strike Two!
Ten-ten, the stalls already busy with eager shoppers, keen to sample the food on offer, giddy with the novelty of finding proper produce on sale. Pickles and chutneys, English cheese and ham, lovely ripe tomatoes and asparagus from Kent, fresh baked artisan bread, beautiful hand-made cakes and buns, variously flavoured Scotch eggs and the scent of freshly brewed coffee and hot Viennese sausages and goulash. People flocked down the high street. The town was alive! Strike Three!
Anxious shopkeepers scanned the posters: what were they selling down at the Station?
Surely this would ruin their prospects for a profitable Sunday? But wait: ‘No I’m sorry, we’re full right now; we should have a table in ten minutes if you’d like to hang on’. Queuing for tables on a Sunday morning, who were all these people? Trekkers on the Taster Trail? No time to ask, should have asked the assistant to do an extra shift! Strikes Four and Five!
Three-thirty, most of the stalls sold out long ago, the clouds finally roll in; time to pack up and go, before the rain comes back for the rest of April. What a great success! And the most frequently asked question? ‘When is the next Food Fair? You will do it again won’t you?’ And the answer is: Sunday 3rd June, 10am until 2pm (hot food and bar until 4pm). Strike Five for the Food Fair Effect!