Summer weekends mean village faires in regional celebrations throughout the UK (and likely Europe),. The Dorset Food and Venison festival was the first off 2015, featuring the traditional mix of food and garden booths, live music, children’s games, mud and Wellies. We drove out to the meadowed village of Lytchett Minster, a low-lying farmland dotted with manor houses and art academies just northwest of Poole. The event ranged across a fenced field surrounding a central maypole, individual and group tents beneath chilly grey skies.
The highlight of the affair was expected to be deer meat, and it exceeded expectation in one direction, missed in another. There was more carving of raw deer going on around the grounds than I had ever seen. Butchers waved knives and hacksaws, gave away or auctioned the cuts to a wincing and silent crowd.
At the same time, there was little actual cooking and eating of the food. The four food tents ran out of venison two hours into the event, with only the vegetarian and alcoholic alternatives remaining open. Ironically for a meat festival, I only ate falafel.
I was eying the llamas in the petting zoo, hoping that we might sacrifice a couple to keep everyone fed.
Hazard management signs were most prominent instructing children at the target shoot. Unfortunately, the real hazard was not errant corks, but the wind blowing down the tent. The manager sweetly offered the children their money back if they would not shoot at the people exposed behind the ruined stand.
On the positive side, a roving band of Morris Dancers were kept outside of the grounds for most of the afternoon (If UKIP’s Nigel Ferage were to fulminate against Morris Dancers as he does against immigrants, he might gain my vote…).
However, they were permitted to enter to run a MayPole dance mid-afternoon in brisk winds. Children marched in concentric opposing circles, struggling to maintain even spacing (“If the pole is toppling, you are doing it wrong….”).