Fêtes, Fairs, Harvest and the like…
We all enjoy seeing the heart of a community – be it a village, school, church or club all dressed up with bunting for a summer fête. Fêtes and fairs give a real sense of our celebrating community together and can help raise vital funds for local causes. The summer fair season ends with Michaelmas Fairs. Alverstoke hosts its fair on 27th November with 1000s visitors and much charitable fund raising supporting Gosport activities and life.
Michaelmas Fairs are a community tradition that go back to the medieval period. They can also be known as ‘Goose Fairs’ from the days of Queen Elizabeth I who ate goose to celebrate the nations deliverance from the Armada.
At 25 years old we are celebrating the silver anniversary of our Michaelmas Fayre in Alverstoke after Adrian Edgar was inspired to get the current fête underway in 1989 renewing what will have been a long, if lost, tradition of celebrating Michaelmas in our parish church.
The feast of St.Michael (who is a celebrated angel in the Bible); with the associations at the end of the summer harvest, of the nights drawing in, of farm labourers seeking winter employment – will have moved our communities in celebration for many centuries past.
In that tradition the 25th Alverstoke Village Michaelmas Fayre from 12noon-4.00pm on 27th September will celebrate and bring together local businesses, institutions, charitable groups and organisations along with bands, music, food and fun. Among them are the Gosport Rotary Club without whom the fair would not happen, and with whom St.Mary’s Parish Church is delighted to be a partner in planning the event.
From their Michaelmas services in church, the historic fairs also called out to God for safe keeping through the pending winter. We and other churches at that weekend and in early October will be keeping our annual Harvest Thanksgivings. The time for thanks out of which a community grateful for its blessings has always been called upon to express generosity of spirit to the poor. So, I hope that both Michaelmas and harvest celebrations this year will allow a generous response in supporting those who are fundraising for many valuable charities and for the work of our local food Basics Bank through imperishable harvest gifts.