I love the Wimbledon Village Fair. I think I’ve done it now for five years and it’s been a real pleasure every year. Living for a night or two on Wimbledon Common is part of the pleasure. The first year caused great consternation from the Wimbledon wardens (affectionately known as the Wombles!) as it is completely forbidden by Act of Parliament to park overnight on the Common. But an Exception was made and now I am the only person officially permitted to live overnight the night before the Fair on Wimbledon Common, watching the sun set over the little pond and listening to the local teenagers complain about school and parents and watching the dog owners.
The Fair is a really great local London event. It’s classic. Fabulous food franchises of many hues and tastes. Local charities and organisations with stalls and gazebos. And lovely crafters, makers and sellers with some great wares.
But what really makes it is the public. The people. I love the spirit here. They have no problem with the show, its eccentricity and theatricality. Actually unlike many places where people find it hard to understand quite what it is I do. Wimbledon just lets me be the odd British showman that I am and they enjoy it in a unique way. This year again, I had some great feedback from people who come back every year to see the same stuff but they are so kind and complimentary that they make the very long journey and the exhausting setup and pull down worth every agonising hour.
This year the wind nearly killed it. Gazebos took flight and the vision of young people hanging onto gazebo poles as the wind lashed the space was universal. But we survived. The Great British Determination. And underpinning that, a real warmth and care that I believe will and would defeat any future aggressor. It is classically British. That is not to say it is white and middle class. Amongst the nicest feedback I had was from a British Asian whose mum had seen the show last year and had given me some very personal gifts. He made a special effort to come and talk to me after the show and was very complimentary. And his mum had remembered that I was there and she apologised through her son that she couldn’t be there this year. It is that sense of care and warmth that makes Wimbledon Village Fair a real success. May it go on forever…
So I say ‘Well done Wimbeldon Guild’. If you didn’t make it this year, try to come next. I will definitely be there. DV.
All the best from a road near you,