Feast of a May Fayre

SOUTHOVER Bonfire Society’s 4th annual Feast of St Pancras May Fayre is taking place on Saturday in the historic grounds of Lewes Priory.

Families can enjoy a fun-packed day: handling a beautiful bird of prey, trying their hands at archery, setting off a Tudor canon, putting loved ones in the stocks and arming themselves with wet sponges, rolling a swede and enjoying a feast of culinary delights from venison and boar to wild garlic soup and lots more.

Organiser Mark Ridgwell says: “Last year around 5,000 people joined in the fun and our Fayre coincided with the Lewes Priory Trust’s celebration of the Priory’s re-opening after extensive restoration and improvement work. As well as raising funds for our annual bonfire celebrations, our Fayre also encourages people to enjoy and care for the Priory’s remains, one of Lewes’ major historical sites.”

This year there are even more attractions for visitors, with drama, music and fortune-telling plus fascinating artists and craftspeople showing off their skills, including a wood turner, stained glass designer, silver artist, leather worker, print maker, bee keeper, miller, potter, blacksmith, alchemist and bookbinder.

Visitors can learn about traditional basket-weaving or, better still, book a place on a workshop to make a willow plant support, and children who bring along five green plastic milk bottle tops can watch them transformed into a toy soldier.

The May Fayre also features foodie delights from many local companies including lots more delicious vegetarian treats, tasty venison from Gourmet Game and wild garlic soup, sandwiches and cakes. If you roll your swede to success, you can win a meal for two at The Pelham Arms, Lewes, and the winner of the cannon ball challenge scoops a meal for two at the Griffin Inn at Fletching.

This fun-packed family day runs from 11am til 4pm. Entry programmes are just £2.50 per adult and children under 12 go free. Programmes can be bought in advance during April from the Lewes Tourist Information Centre, 187 High Street; The Kings Head, 9 Southover High Street; The Pelham Arms, Lewes High Street; St Pancras Stores, St Pancras Road, or on the day at the gate.

Entrance to the Fayre is from Cockshut Road, off Southover High Street, or from the Convent Fields beside the Dripping Pan in Mountfield Road by Lewes railway station.