Although we hold one of our biggest Game and Country Fairs at Thame every Easter, this was our first Craft, Food and Gift Show: Remembrance Weekend (recognised with the traditional two minute silence on Sunday morning) – and poppies mingled with Christmas decorations on a weekend which really saw the launch of Christmas 2015 (You know, when the new John Lewis and old Coca Cola adverts come out that there’s no escaping it any more!)
Anyway, with three huge craft marquees the shopping was seriously good. From Christmas decorations to unique whiskeys to clocks to jewellry – there really was something for everyone and more! It was undercover and heated so the rain on Saturday didn’t bother our early Christmas shoppers and after a warm cup of non alcoholic mulled… something yummy on arrival, people took their time wandering the various stalls looking and trying and usually buying.
I wasn’t the only one who appreciated the boot polishers, who did a roaring trade in the muddy conditions, restoring people’s boots to new for free, and selling a lot of boot genie polish to happy people with sparkling footware! I also enjoyed being pampered at a number of stalls selling home made hand cream and beautiful soaps and bath products. A bit further on I had a nail done with a little print of a reindeer, and bought a great stocking filler for my daughter! A multitude of scarfs to choose from for various friends and some beautiful earrings… I was also stopped by a very friendly man selling chocolate flavoured wine: how’s that for a genius idea? I walked past his stall more than a few times after that… delicious!
When my photos started looking blurry I decided to head for the food halls, where I learnt some valuable Christmas cooking tips from the amazing Tereasa Bovey, then how to make sausages with Jonny Puztsai, whihc was both illuminating and entertaining. He’s right: who ever came up with the idea of stuffing meat into pigs’ intestines and cooking it? But after trying some of the twenty different flavours of sausages on sale in the food halls, I decided that whoever did come up with that idea deserves a medal! And I was especially delighted to discover that many of them were gluten free! If you have a cheese lover in your life, this is definitely the place to go for Christmas goodies, and coupled with the wonderful chutneys and other condiments, yours could be a very yummy Christmas!
There was much more than food, crafts and gifts at the show, and Fiery Jack was doing a great job entertaining the young at heart with his juggling, other circus skills and general fooling around. We also had the Pinxton Puppets telling the stories of Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs, with great audience participation. Moment in Time were there, talking about Christmas down the ages, and the hamsters were also on show. Ferret racing and birds of prey also drew a crowd. And of course Santa was there with his owls.
The Christmas Fun Dog Show also debuted their new classes: ‘Best Reindeer Handler’, ‘Musical Sit’, and ‘Quality Street’ among them. Santa judged, and for the first time in dog show history, a cat won one of the classes! Everyone went away with smiles on their faces, rosettes on leads… and chocolate in stomachs!
Then there were the stars of the show: the chainsaw carving elves. There is little you can say about this merry band of Santa’s helpers. They threw themselves into the festivities although struggling to keep their tights up! The crowds thoroughly enjoyed their speed carving antics throughout the day, and some amazing bargains were bought at auction for unique Christmas presents this year.