Macclesfield Community History

Strawberry Fete, 89 Years Old

Link: 2015 Strawberry Fete

The 2016 Strawberry Fete

The 89th Macclesfield Strawberry Fete will be held on Sunday November 27th on Davenport Square, Macclesfield.

2016 Strawberry Fete Flyer

 


 

The 2015 Strawberry Fete, part of the 175th Celebrations

The 2015 Strawberry Fete became part of the 175th celebrations of Macclesfield. We, the Macclesfield History Group, set up our display in the hall of the Anglican Church, which is situated directly across the road from Davenport Square, the site of the Strawberry Fete.

We had a number of visitors, including past residents, and their families, of Macclesfield, to see our displays and slideshow.

2015 Strawberry Fete hall display

Our Macclesfield History Group display in the Anglican Hall, just across from Davenport Square.

 

175th Cake baked by Nancy Bradbury

175th Cake baked by Nancy Bradbury

Closeup of the 175th Cake baked by Nancy Bradbury

Closeup of the 175th Cake baked by Nancy Bradbury

 

The 2015 Strawberry Fete Flyer:

2015 Strawberry Fete Flyer

The Macclesfield Strawberry Fete, held on Davenport Square, is a popular annual event. This year it will be held on Sunday 22nd November 2015. We will have a stall where you can meet us - hope to see you there.

The following newsletter article, written for a newsletter in 2014, gives some history of the Fete:

 

Glimpses from the Past - Strawberry Fete

This year marks the 87th anniversary of the Macclesfield Strawberry Fete, which evolved from the "All British Fair" which was first held in 1927, as a St John’s Church of England fundraiser.

Strawberry Fete card

The first St. John's was built in 1857 on the corner of Luck Street and Devereaux Road, where a plaque now commemorates the site. The present St. Johns in Venables Street was completed in 1926, and in September of that year, St John’s Church of England Guild of Women was formed to undertake the entire furnishing of their new Church. They were a very busy band of women who held social afternoons and euchre dances throughout the summer, and by March 1927 it was reported that the Furnishings, including a new organ, had cost 116 pounds and 19 Shillings ($233.90), only a portion of which was still owing.

It was then decided to hold the "All British Fair" on November 23rd 1927, with strawberries and cream to be sold and other stalls conducted. The fair was a great success, and that year the ladies also ran a stall at the Congregational Church’s Christmas Eve Fair. In those days Father Christmas arrived in Macclesfield on Christmas Eve, and was welcomed at the Fair by the Congregational Church, later shared with the Methodist Church, and later still, conducted entirely by the Methodist Church.

The Church of England Fete continued annually, usually in November, but sometimes early December, depending on when the strawberries were available. During the early 1930's a dance was sometimes held in lieu, but always with strawberries and cream and cool drinks etc being sold. In 1934 the Fair was held, but in the evening, with the usual entertainment, and the Sunday School boys provided side shows. In 1936, it was held in the daytime with a dance at night and that successful arrangement continued for many years as one of the social highlights of life in Macclesfield.

2005 Strawberry Fete flyer

Flyer for the 2005 Strawberry Fete, and no, there was no jelly wrestling!

The Hall was always beautifully decorated, and much planning went into the various stalls and their themes. The floral arrangements on the stage were a focal point as the fete was opened, with the official party seated there, and a small girl was chosen from the Sunday School to present a gift and posy of flowers to whoever had the honour of performing the ceremony.

Older "Maccyites" will remember the dips in the bakers oven with the attendants in bakers garb, and later the "tulip garden", where a flower was selected and pulled out to reveal the dip attached to the stem. Those attendants were also dressed in flower costumes with the theme changing each year. One year's report mentioned an "Orange and Lemon tree" instead of a "Bran Pie" for dips. Perhaps some one remembers that one, as I have no recollection of it, and I would like to know what it was.

There were always competitions. One year it was the final of the Ugly Man competition, other years, guess the name of the doll, with the doll being the prize, or guess the weight of the cake and win the cake. These all added to the fun and held the interest for the day.

In later years "The Pick a Box" stall was extremely popular, the shapes and labels on the parcels giving no clue to their contents, and everyone loves a surprise. It seems  that Father Christmas made his first appearance at the fete in 1959 (perhaps that was the year the Christmas Eve Fair was discontinued). I remember taking our children during the 1950's and he has remained just as popular ever since.

The dance at night was dropped in 1970 and in 1987 the members of the Anglican Church invited other local churches to take part in the fete. This was a successful move, and continued until 1991, when the Community Association was invited to sponsor the day, and invite other local groups to participate. A Bush Dance was also introduced and was very popular with young and old alike.

Fete

As with any successful and enduring event, the ability to change with changing times ensures growth and continuity. The Macclesfield Strawberry Fete has been, and is, no exception. From its very early beginnings as a Church fund raiser, till now, its 87th anniversary, the Fete has continued to uphold its important social event status.

In recent years, the emphasis has turned to that of a country market, with even more changes in the wind. As Macclesfield embraces a new wine industry even more options present themselves.

Even so, some things will never change. Come what may, there will always be the obligatory Strawberries and Cream. Father Christmas will continue to visit, and music will continue to liven up Davenport Square. The people of Macclesfield, and their visitors, can continue to look to the Macclesfield Strawberry Fete as a great fun and social occasion, offering the best bargains, good food, good humour, good fun and friendly folk.

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Santa at the 2004 Fete

Santa at the 2004 Fete

 

1994 Report 1

Both these reports (above and below) are from "The Courier", Wednesday Nov 30, 1994

1994 Report 2

 

 

2005 Fete - old automobiles

2005 Fete - old automobiles

 

"Bluegrass" music at the Fete

"Bluegrass" music at the Fete

 

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