This weekend was the perfect example of the summertime British festivities. 

We were aware of one fayre in our general area, but would have been unable to make it due to other commitments.  Namely, Stagecoach.  But, when we arrived at the school for Stagecoach, the kids refused to go.  The older one was tired after her morning gymnastics practice and had a meet the next day.  The younger was really just feeling lazy and used her stomach as an excuse again. 

However, she had homework for the mid-term break, so we decided to stay in the town and get the homework done – it required mapping out one of the main streets.  Afterwards, they wanted ice cream.  We thought we’d stop for ice cream and they might change their minds about Stagecoach, since we were an hour early.  However, on our way to get ice cream, we drove through Lindfield, a small village surrounding Haywards Heath.  Right there in the center, was a fayre.  And a very proper and traditional British fayre it was.  Rides, games, stalls, tombola, raffles, fancy dress competition, and food.  Things missing were shows, races and physical competitions.

Needless to say, they wanted to stop for that.  In the midst of having fun in the fun house and spending money on games, they forgot about their ice cream.  That is, until we had to leave when we ran out of money.  They still refused Stagecoach, but they wanted their ice cream.

Next day, we had the gymnastics competition in Horsham.  Our daughter competed in the morning session (8:30-12:00), but she wanted to stay for the afternoon session to watch other teammates.  In the middle of it, she was tired and wanted to go outside to play.  I stayed to keep our seats, while my husband took the girls out for a short spell.  It was unbelievably hot and the younger one came in after a while saying she didn’t feel well because of the heat. 
However, there was a fun-fair right there in the park where the gym was.  I believe it was a charity event.  The kids wanted to stay after the competition to enjoy the fair, but we were exhausted, especially since we had only been snacking all day.  We needed real food and were not about to pay a lot of money on junk at the fair.

But this weekend showed us that we were entering the season of fun.  On the way to the gym, we saw signs for a horse show and another for a dog show.  All of this, happening in one weekend.  I hope we survive this summer without going bankrupt or dealing with too many tantrums.

We opted for the Fletching village fete.  It was spread out across the village cricket green with various stalls.  One section was reserved for the vintage car show.  Then there was the bell-ringing in the church.  That was unique.  My husband and our younger daughter participated in that.  Meanwhile, our older daughter and I visited the art exhibit within the church.  Quite an impressive display, and though she could not afford it, our daughter wanted to buy several paintings.  I must say, it would have been nice to support the local talent.

The atmosphere of the fete was quite subdued, and I wondered if that was the case for all fetes.  As I understand it, the difference between a fete and a fayre is that the fayres usually have competitive games and rides.  Of course, the Rusper fayre did not have rides, but it did have games.  This fete had some children’s games, a bowling pitch, clay pigeon shoot, and air water-bottles, but no participatory competitions.  The fayres concentrated more on fun, whereas the fetes concentrated on sales.  There were various stalls from different charities and organisations, selling books and other items for funds.  Others sold plants and produce, jams, etc.

Of course, the distinctions between fayres and fetes have probably dissolved over the years, with many churches and villages changing the venues.  It’s getting harder to define these traditional British celebrations.  We still have yet to experience the carnivals.  In the US, the word “carnival” is used so loosely to mean a fun-fair, that it will be a new experience.  Of course, we had parades in the US, but it was never followed with a fayre.