Despite an appalling weather forecast, the Rustic Fayre at Potterne Park in Verwood went ahead as planned on August Bank Holiday Monday.
Optimism was high at the start of the day as stallholders faced the rain to put up their gazebos and there was no stopping the majority of the arena events, sponsored by Viewpoint Magazine, which ran the entire afternoon, but the hoped for crowds didn’t turn out even though there were large undercover areas offering shelter, refreshments and live entertainment.
Rotarian Vern Harris, chairman of the organising committee, who has been involved with the event for the last 21 years said, “Looking at it positively, this is the first time I can remember it raining all day since I’ve helped organise the Rustic Fayre. Unfortunately attendance is low, but I thank all the brave and supportive people who ventured out to make the most of the afternoon.” He estimated that visitor numbers were down to about 10% of the normal 4,000 to 5,000.
On the bright side, all the doggie events went well and the terrier racing was as exciting as ever with the dogs taking far more notice of the ‘hare’ than the rain. A bedraggled, but exuberant Lillie was presented with the winner’s medal. Two flying displays by Eagle Heights proved popular and one falcon even took a liking to the audience, landing outside the arena to give spectators an extremely close up view.
The annual event is organised by Verwood Rotary Club and held in aid of charity. It was opened by Verwood Carnival Queen. The town Mayor, Cllr Pat Morrow attended to offer her support.
mags4dorset held a tombola, which proved popular and raised £60 against all odds for Green Cottage Riding for the Disabled. The ladies from the RDA were in the gazebo next door with their human fruit machine also busy raising funds.
The 2014 Rustic Fayre is bound to be another record-breaker, the sheer number of brollies will guarantee that.