Midsummer Festival

Castle Bytham Midsummer Fair has taken place in Castle Bytham during June each year since 1992.  The next Midsummer Fair will take place on the weekend of June 24 and 25 for 2023.


From the Glenside News (August 2015) (added : 30/08/15 : MG)

From Peter Hinton …

The dust has settled, the equipment cleaned and put away, the aching backs are recovering and the Fair Committee can look back at the weekend in June when the village came alive with the music and activity of the annual Midsummer Fair. Now is the time for reflection on what went well, what we could do better next year and what to do with the profits from the Fair.  Every year we ask if anyone has a local good cause or project in the community they would like the Fair to support.  That set me thinking about what we had supported in the past.  Our records go back to 1994 and make interesting reading.  The Fair has distributed more than £65,000 since then – not bad for a village fair!

In the past 21 years the Church has received £15000, the Village Hall £13000, the two Christmas parties £6000 and the Glenside News £5000. Projects the Fair Committee have taken on, often providing the manpower as well as funding, have been the Village Sign (£4400); improvements to the Recreation Field (£1600); improvements to the Upper Green and bus shelter (£1500); pond clean up (£500) and our most recent project the public defibrillator (£1300).  What is notable is the recent absence of grants to many children and sport activities.  The days when the cricket club; Colts football team; youth club etc received grants are past – a sad reflection on the ageing nature of our community. The one bright spot being grants to the Spinney project (£1250) in recent years.  We have also sponsored the now annual firework display and the village Christmas tree and lights.

As a community group we can be flexible about what we support and welcome your ideas so please let us know if you have a project or good cause you would like us to support.

A huge thank you to all of you who have contributed to this year’s Fair or helped out in some way.  A special thanks to the volunteers who stepped into the breach with the car parks when we were let down at the last minute by a Scout Group who got their diaries mixed up.  The car parks were at times swamped with visitors – we estimate that around 2000 to 3000 cars must have gone through the car parks during Sunday.  Even the BBMF Dakota crew commented the huge number of cars.

The fly past by the Red Arrows was a fitting end to the day even if they were a bit too late for many of our visitors.  Congratulations to those who won something in the raffle and, of course, to the winner of the Duck Race.  Whether you baked a cake for the Village Hall Cafe, pulled pints at the Bar/BBQ, helped with the Tombola stall or just came along and had a good time, we cannot do it without your support.

If you have any comments about the day, would like to be involved next year or have ideas about community activities to support call me on 410968.

From the Glenside News (June 2015) (added : 30/08/15 : MG)

From Peter Hinton …

Hippy Take Over in Village
Reports have been received about fleets of VW Camper Vans descending on the Village for the Fair.  Local number plate spotter enthusiast Alan Harvey claims he saw (one of the) vehicles parked outside a local hostelry.  “I am sure I last saw this VW on a recent visit to Haight Ashbury when buying more Grateful Dead t-shirts fro my collection” said Alan.

Music Maestro Promises Classic 60’s Bonanza
Bythams Music organiser Patrick Candler has promised his collection of 1960’s musical favourites will be a great hit at this years Festival.  The Music Festival will be on Saturday afternoon and evening and all day Sunday.  Patrick recently told your roving Glenside reporter “The live music Festival will have something for everyone’s taste though I am disappointed we could not book the Des O’Connor Tribute Band.  I am pleased to say my personal 45’s singles collection of Helen Shapiro, the Beverley Sisters and, of course my own favourite the one and only Kathy Kirby, will bring a real 60’s feel to the weekend“.

Popular TV Cook Fanny Craddock Praises Fair Food
Village Hall Queen Bee Fiona Applegate is proud of the praise from the grave, passed on by local spirit medium Ivor Konexion.  “We are going all out with Fanny’s prawn cocktail and Black Forest Gateau recipes for this years Village Hall Cafe.”  Co-Manager Kate Goodman is especially proud of the tea strainer she found at a local car boot sale. “No softie 70’s tea bags for us this year“, she said. Grumpy husband Richard was heard to remark “Stuff the fancy food in the hall, I just want the bacon rolls cooked on our BBQ.

Family Fun Fair Needs more Helpers
The Field Fun Fair desperately needs more villagers to run some of the children’s fun fair activities.  “After the 60’s theme our most important aim is to make the Field a real family focused area.” said Chairman Peter Hinton.  Rumour has it the Chairman has dug out his favourite 60’s outfit for the day.  His wife is busy searching for appropriate material to let it out to fit his waistline.

Pimms Brings a Touch of Class to the Bar BBQ
The well known good food and quality ales served on the field will again be served at the Fair.  Cocktail waitress Fiona Broadbent told your reporter “We like to think we are a cut above the competition with our Pimms.  We use real strawberries and cucumber in our Pimms and only employ true blue English ingredients.”  The touch of old English values is evident.  For us lesser mortals the beer, burgers and hog roast are pretty good as well!

Your Weekend of Fun
Many thanks for those of you who have already volunteered to help; we need more “hands” to help over the weekend so please call 01780 410968 if you would like to be part of the team.

Midsummer Fair on Twitter (added : 08/06/15 : MG)

From Glenside News (June 2015) …

A great leap into the world of social media – The Midsummer Fair has now got its own Twitter account.  Castle Bytham Midsummer Festival is now on Twitter! Follow them @CBMidsummerFest for news and updates on this years Festival weekend.  Get your friends and family to follow them on Twitter @CBMidsummerFest.

From the Glenside News (May 2015) (added : 07/06/15 : MG)

From Peter Hinton …

The Festival weekend must be getting close – used the BBQ twice already!  Needless to say the gas bottle ran out with half cooked pork burgers on the grill.  The key message is ‘plan ahead’.   We know it will snow at sometime in the winter but how many of us think about stocking up on salt/grit?  We know it will be sunny at sometime in the summer (hopefully over the weekend 20/21 June) but how many of us check on the state of the sun tan lotion in our medicine cabinets?  I did not and during the weekend break in Gibraltar fell asleep at the hotel swimming pool – result, a face like an over cooked salmon!

Fortunately the Fair Committee are better organised and have already checked over most of our equipment, a few repairs, a few new items needed and a bit of cleaning done.  Over the years we have accumulated a lot of kit, most but not all gets used each year.  It still surprises us however that some things seem to disappear just when you want them then mysteriously reappear when you do not need them.  The category of reliable ‘helpers’ for the Fair can be a bit like that – vanish into this air just when you need them then spring out of the woodwork when it is all over.  Please, please do not let us down and come forward to offer to help.  Give me a call or speak to any of the Committee and you will be welcomed with open arms.

I was thinking about our 1960’s them for this year and looking over some old photos I began to realise how weird we all were in those days.  The most telling item was hairdos.  Some women seemed to have a lot of hair and some very little.  And the men were no better!

I well remember the groans in the queue for the barbers on my second day in the RAF when we were all treated to 1940’s style short back and sides.  There was so much hair on the floor a JCB was needed to clear it up.

Looking back I was also drawn to the many good causes and local projects the Midsummer Fair has been able to support over the last 20 years.  From humble beginnings when raising a few hundred pounds seemed a big deal to recent years when our ‘profits’ allow us to dispense a few thousand pounds each year.  But more than that we should also remember the time and work put in by committee members and helpers for the projects around the village.  The most obvious including the village sign and its recent repairs, the thousands of daffodil bulbs planted on public spaces and the clean up and restoration of the Upper Green and especially the bus stop.  The telephone box looks in need of a bit of TLC so that might be on our agenda in the summer.  Recent projects that involved work by the Committee as well as cash, were the pond clean up and the installation of the defibrillator at the surgery.  If you have a project in mind for the village you would like the Fair Committee to consider please let us know.

From the Glenside News (May 2011) (added : 03/05/11 : MG)

From Peter Hinton …

Calling all Mums and Dads!  Over the years we have tried to make sure that the Fair is a genuine family day and provide something for every age group.  This year we would like to make sure that children of all ages can enjoy the Fair and desperately need more volunteers to help out with the children’s funfair activities.  We know from experience that the best children’s attractions are those we can put on ourselves with a bit of professional rides and entertainment thrown in.  Each year we make donations to the School and other children’s organisations so if you would like to support those and give children a fun time at the Fair please get in touch.

We are much relieved to announce that the new owners of the field off St Martins are willing to support the Fair which will again be the venue for the Bar/BBQ, Music Festival and Children’s Funfair area.  In addition we have permission to use the Quarry site for a range of activities which we hope will all add up to a full day of fun and entertainment.  The quality of the stalls bidding for places is showing a wide range of goods on offer that we think will make the day a very enticing shopping experience as well – probably the best street market stall displays we have had in out 20 year history.  when you add in the food and drink on offer around the village we think we have the makings of an exceptional rural experience so get on to all your friends and entice them to enjoy a very special Castle Bytham day.

The magic Fair date of 19 June seems to be accelerating towards us.  The early warm spell we are experiencing as I write holds the promise of a good summer and hopefully a warm Sunday 19 June. In any event the planning for the Fair is well advanced but with much work still to be done.  We can only do it with your help and participation. If you would like to help in any way you can contact us through the email address below or call us.  Remember every penny we raise goes back into the local community; bring on our community spirit by helping the Fair to help our community to enjoy its special day.

Finally a plea to our regular helpers and anyone who would like to give a hand on the day for the first time – our email address is midsummerfair@gmail.com or give me a call on 410968.  See you all on the 19 June.

From the Glenside News (April 2011) (added : 07/04/11 : MG)

From Peter Hinton …

The planning for the Midsummer Fair is now getting into its stride.  Amid minor panics over where the rubber ducks are or what did we do with the BBQ we are into such trivia as what design to put on the raffle tickets?  The artistic sub-group are busy working on what bunting to erect – “I think we should have blue, white and red this year; red, white and clue is so last year don’t you think?”  The Street Market is rapidly filling up and we seem to be attracting some unusual and attractive stalls this year we have not seen before so, if you want a local stall please let Rachael know as soon as possible on ******.  [Note … Rachael no longer deals with bookings for stalls at the Midsummer Fair, the best person to contact in the meantime is Peter Hinton 410968 … MG, 14/02/12]  What else has happened?  Well, we are pleased to welcome back Bourne Borderers Morris Group and the Bythams Music Festival looks to be even better than last year.  The bar/BBQ team have promised to get a bigger pig roast as they sold out in record time last year and the Village Hall will have its splendid food selection ready for all as well.  Don’t forget both pubs will also be in full swing so there should be no excuse for anyone to be hungry or dry!

We have been advised that we should have the Lancaster fly past during the afternoon and we are also hoping to have a clutch of clowns around during the day.  An appeal also for any of you with a secret classic motor vehicle or bike tucked away in the garage to roll it out and out it in our classic vehicle display – you might even win a prize for the most “interesting” vehicle in show.

Finally a plea to our regular helpers and anyone who would like to give a hand on the day for the first time – our email address is midsummerfair@gmail.com or give me a call on 410968.  See you all on 19 June.

From the Glenside News (March 2011) (added : 09/03/11 : MG)

From Peter Hinton …

The seasons are moving on, the snowdrops are out and daffodils will follow soon. Just as I think I have got the garden ready for the next burst of growth I can guarantee the weather will do the opposite to what we need. As planning for the Fair progresses each year we hope for fair weather but always have to think what we can do if it is less than kind. In the past we have dealt with windy days – lots of sand bags handed out to hold down stalls; wet mornings – cram in as many as possible to the Hall and BBQ Marquee; heatwave – provide as much shade as possible and keep the beer cold. In past years we have coped with all of these. Unfortunately our local weather forecaster, Pat Beese and his fine collection of seaweed and pine cones, is very uneasy this year and is muttering about plagues of frogs, or was it a sand storm? Oh well, better change the BBQ menu to include frogs legs on a stick and hand out the Arab style headdresses.

Last month, our leaderene, Rachel, put in a plea for all you local stall holders to book early this year as we are taking more and more bookings earlier and earlier, so please remember to do so. [Note … Rachael no longer deals with bookings for stalls at the Midsummer Fair, the best person to contact in the meantime is Peter Hinton 410968 … MG, 14/02/12]

The award winning ladies – well they deserve an award for all their hard work, who run the Village Hall Cafe will also be looking to their loyal volunteers so start thinking about those cake recipes ladies. This year the entertainment will be as varied as we can make it. A new attraction this year will be the chance to take a ride in a real tank – OK, before the pongoes in the village correct me, really an “Armoured Personnel Carrier” or “APC”. Trust me though these ex-army battle buses will give you a ride around the quarry you will never forget! Don’t forget we are always looking for new entertainments as well as bringing back old favourites so if you have something to contribute or a bright idea please get in touch and we can see how we can fit it in. We are especially keen to get as many classic vehicles to this years fair so if you have an old Bugatti or maybe a treasured Penny Farthing hidden in the garage, blow off the dust and bring it along.

From Glenside News (February 2011) (added : 14/03/11 : MG)

From Rachael Barratt …

Over 30% of 2011 stalls already booked!

Word is spreading among market stall holders that Castle Bythams Midsummer Fair is the ‘must do’ event for the area. Within days of last years astounding success we were taking bookings for 2011 and they are still coming in at an unprecedented rate, so its very likely that our full complement of stall spaces will sell out well in advance of June 19th.

Villagers have in the past been able to book their pitches late on, but if you are intent on running a stall this year the Fair Committee urges you to secure your place early. [Note … Rachael no longer deals with bookings for stalls at the Midsummer Fair, the best person to contact in the meantime is Peter Hinton 410968 … MG, 14/02/12]

Locals are able to take advantage of a preferential rate or pitch bookings, of just £10. It’s a modest contribution to a growing event that aims to raise funds for the benefit of Castle Bytham and the people in it. And to this end we would respectfully ask that if you are planning to set up stall in your own driveway this year that you make a donation in lieu of the pitch fee to help towards the running costs of the Fair, which are considerable and it is the Fair which attracts your customers.

From Glenside News (February 2011) (added : 14/03/11 : MG)

From Peter Hinton …

It is hard to focus on what we need to do for the 2011 Fair when everyone is still reeling from the snow and ice in November and December; recovering from the excesses of the Christmas break and worrying about the huge increase in the cost of heating oil but the Committee has to start somewhere.  But, first a look back at what the Fair Committee has achieved for the community. Over the years we have been pleased to support a wide range of local groups and projects to improve village. It is now more than 10 years since we took the decision to try and spread the proceeds of the Fair to benefit as much of the community as possible.  But this has also meant much more than just donating money.  A good example was the Bonfire Night party in the Autumn, the idea sprang up at a Committee Meeting in the summer and before we knew it most of the Fair Committee had volunteered to help and, as always, we were not shy at cajoling many of those friends of the Fair who help us out each summer into giving a hand. The Fair is not just about fundraising but also about bringing us together as a community.

Over the years we must have been doing something right because the Fair continues to grow year on year – both in numbers of visitors we attract and our ability to fun raise for the village. Last summer was a bumper year and we aim to better that this year but we can only grow if we can get the help and support we need within the community. When you read your copy of the Parish Plan you may notice a comment from the surveys the Village Plan team carried out that the Fair should “consider new visitor attractions”. At first I nearly choked on my beer then had to smile at what was obviously a well meaning suggestion from someone.  The reality is we spend the majority of our efforts over the year in trying to persuade people and organisations to come along.  We have also tried hard to improve the “quality” of the Fair without losing sight of the objective that we want people in the Community to want to take part as well.  This all leads to our main plea; if you know of an attraction or perhaps have a hidden talent of your own you could show off please get in touch, remember it is as much about taking part as it is in visiting and enjoying the day.

Well Done Peter Hinton! (added : 14/03/11 : MG)

From the Glenside News (December 2010) …

Fiona Broadbent – one of Peter Hinton’s Crew (aka The Bonfire Squad) writes …

On 6th November the skies over Castle Bytham were lit up with fantastic fireworks and this all came about thanks to one man – Peter Hinton.  He has the resilience and tenacity to go with cap in hand and persuade the Mid Summer Fair Committee and the Parish Council that this would bring together the community of Castle Bytham as nothing like this had been done before and whilst he comes up against some negativity he ploughed on regardless, recruiting willing victims (sorry, volunteers!) to share in his vision.  It was a big ask of us volunteers as everyone dipped into their own pockets to provide the food and refreshments and our time hoping that the evening would be a success and therefore get paid back for it but as Peter has proven his organisational abilities to us in the past we were all more than willing to take a punt.

So from all of us three cheers for Peter, looking forward to next year and we hope that those of you who attended this years event, enjoyed it and will support next year.



Castle Bytham Midsummer Fair (from Glenside News October 1995 : 15/01/12 : MG)

An Open Meeting to discuss the Midsummer Fair will be held in the village hall on Wednesday 11 October (1995) at about 9.00pm, after the Crime Prevention and Home Security Talk.  Please come along and express your views, ideas, criticism (constructive or otherwise) or to offer your help.

Castle Bytham Midsummer Fair (from Glenside News October 1995 : 15/01/12 : MG)

The Committee for this years (1995) Midsummer Fair has now finalised the accounts which are detailed in this issue [see below]. The final total available for distribution is £1902.58.  This amount is t be shared between the Church, Village Hall, Glenside News and the Parties Committee as follows :- Church £575.00, Village Hall £575.00, Glenside News £150.00, Parties Committee £200.00.  Th residue of £402.58 is to be retained as float for next years event.

Accounts 1995 (from Glenside News October 1995 : 15/01/12 : MG)

Midsummer Fair Refreshments (from Glenside News September 1995 : 22/12/11 : MG)

From Tricia Robins …

I would like to thank everyone who helped make a profit of £270 – a sizeable contribution towards the Midsummer Fair funds.  Many people gave cakes, scones and other goodies – everything so good that customers wanted to take home more of what they had eaten.  Thanks to all.

Many thanks also to those who helped on the day.  We were so busy that next year’s organiser (of the refreshments) would be advised to enlist more help to ease the workload.

Castle Bytham Midsummer Fair (from Glenside News August 1995 : 18/12/11 : MG)

From Rev B J Bennett …

It was good to see the village so full of people, and so much going on.  We had friends come up from London and they very much enjoyed it.  There was a new committee this year and they are to be congratulated.  Thanks again to everyone who worked to put the event on, we look forward to future weekends and trust we will go from strength to strength.

Midsummer Fair 1995 (from Glenside News August 1995 : 18/12/11 : MG)

From Mike Tarling, Chairman Castle Bytham Midsummer Fair 1995 …

Memory of this years Midsummer Fair is now fast receding.  I have been asked by many people in the village how we did.  My response has been “from what viewpoint”.  How does one judge the success or failure of any event?  Is the amount of money raised the criteria?  Or should we look at things such as the feel good factor, atmosphere etc.  From the financial point of view, we are still waiting for a couple of bills to come in, once they have been settled we will know the final amount raised.  From a preliminary calculation, it would appear that the committee raised about £1700.  This may not seem a great sum for all the time and effort that was expended to put the event together, but it must be remembered, that income for the event is derived only from the sale of raffle tickets, which was very disappointing, and the sale of pitches to stall holders.   In addition, the generosity of the sponsors for grand draw prizes mad a great contribution.  If you judge the event from a ‘feel good’ point of view, we have been told by many people that it was a great success.  Fund-raising for the various good causes within the village was very successful.  There were six tombolas in the fair and five of them raised just over £200 to £347 each.

Nearly all stall holders were new to the event.  Only about six returning from last year, it was an uphill struggle to attract new stall holders.  However, some sixty odd eventually came, including those in the village hall and all those spoken to have stated their resolve to return next year.  Although always reluctant to state figures, most said that they had had a good day.  The attractions were well received and once again the RAF did us proud.  There can’t be many people who, when hearing the magnificently tuned Rolls Royce Merlin engine and seeing the Spitfire skimming low over the village, do not have a lump in their throat and feel a pang of pride and nostalgia.

So was the event a success?  I say, yes.  The weather turned around for us in the afternoon, most stall holders did not start packing up until after 4.00pm and many were still selling at 4.30pm.  Money has been raised for various village activities and people enjoyed themselves and a nice atmosphere prevailed.  All that remains to say is, thank you to the committee for all their support and to all those who helped, in what ever capacity.  To those of you who were unable to help this year, what about next year?  This event was started three years ago by committed volunteers and continues in that vane.  It is your village, your community, you can only benefit from offering your support and help.  The foundation is now well and truly set.  Lets build on it.

Refreshments (from Glenside News June 1995 : 10/12/11 : MG)

From Tricia Robins …

I have volunteered to organise the refreshments to be served in the Village Hall for the Midsummer Fair.  This is to ask you for donations in the form f cakes, scones, quiches etc.  (Ingredients can also be provided)  I am also looking for those with a little time to spare on the day to help serve the refreshments.

Please ring me on 410092 or call at 42 Bytham Heights.  Messages left at the shop will, hopefully, also find me.

Midsummer Fair Update : May 1995 (from Glenside News June 1995 : 10/12/11 : MG)

From Michael Tarling …

The dare for the Midsummer Fair is now only a month away, where the months and weeks have gone is a mystery.  Most of the organisation is now complete with just a few outstanding iems to be finalised.  For those of you who are considering taking a pitch at the Street Market, please do so a soon as possible.  I have started to allocate places on a first come first served basis, therefore your preferred site may already have gone.  Pitches are £5 each for villagers, so if you have not booked a pitch and would like one, contact me on 01780 410845 as soon as possible.

The committee would like to thank Paul and Ruth Thurman, for organising an Antiques Fair in the village to raise funds for the Midsummer Fair.  The event raised £218 and their efforts are appreciated.

We have some volunteers but need more.  This year we are running a minibus shuttle between the car park and the top of the village.  We have two buses but need drivers.  We are hoping to run a rota for the drivers, who would drive the bus for 1 hour at a time.  Therefore we require 16 people over the age of 25 who have held a full driving licence for cars (category D1 or the old group A) for at least three years to help us. If you fit these criteria and would like to volunteer please contact Robin Davis on 01780 410463.

We also require volunteers to man (or is it ‘person’) the Grand Draw ticket sales table.  Again, if we can have about 16 people, the actual time involved per person would not be great.  Whilst on the subject of the Grand Draw, the tickets are on sale in the village shop and ticket sellers will also be calling at all homes in the village.  Please buy as many as you can afford.  You stand more chance of winning the £150 first prize in our Grand Draw, than you do of winning £10 on the National Lottery.

May I remind you all that the following toads will be closed to traffic from 8am to 5pm on the day of the event :- Castle Gate, Heathcote Road, Pinfold Road, Glen Road (from junction with Water Lane).  If you live in one of the affected roads, we would ask you to park your vehicles in the car park and use the shuttle service.  Nearer the date of the fair, those affected will be issued with free parking permits for the car park.  The committee hope that this will not cause too much inconvenience.

Do not forget to make a note in your diaries for the 25th June.  If you feel you can help in any way please contact the numbers above.  Hope to see you all there.

Added : 06/02/11 : MG
Last Updated : 30/08/15 : MG

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