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Sunday 23 November 2014

The Steeple Leaze Farm Christmas Fair 2014

It's been a week since the 1st Steeple Leaze Farm Christmas fair and I am finally getting to put a few words on the blog about the event.  In short, it was a fantastic day and exceeded our expectations.  We came up with the idea a few months ago, Julian the farmer had built a lovely new barn and Christmas is the only time of the year that it is empty, the rest of the year it would be full of sheep, birthing in the spring and shearing in the summer.  We got permission from Julian and started putting the plans together.  Lucy was in charge of getting interest from the local stall holders and I was in charge of advertising the event and sorting out the bar and BBQ not a bad job at all.  We wanted to make the event something people would travel too as we are located a little out of the way, so I contacted my good friend Mark Dawson, who is a fantastic piano player and vocalist.  Luckily he was playing at Mr Kyps the night before and agreed to come along and play for us in 2 x 2 hour sets.

Next on the list was to organise the "Hay Bale Inn".  We needed somewhere for people to lounge around and enjoy the atmosphere, the problem was that farmers do not make hay bales anymore, they tend to produce the large rolls of hay which are much more efficient.  This is where local farmer and friend Dave Randal came to the rescue, delivering us 30 bales of hay.

My final tasks were to get the BBQ and bar sorted, for the bar I was a bit late to get a barrel of ale from the Corfe Brewery, but luckily Steve was able to get various bottles for me but I don't think people were complaining about the barrel of Ringwood we had on tap.  I obtained a lamb from Julian and a venison from Ashley Barns and took them to Curtis's the butchers in Wareham, who produced the most amazing venison and cranberry sausages and Lamb and Mint burgers which were to die for! I would like to mention that Curtis's were absolutely fantastic, preparing the meat and storing in there cold stores until the day, such a professional and nice bunch of guys.  So I was set and nothing could ruin the day apart from the rain!

Well the rain happened which was always a risk for an event in November, but we were all dry inside the barn whilst outside the rain kept a steady drizzle.  This undoubtedly would have put some off and I worried a bit about the parking as our overflow car park was a squelchy mess.

Not daunted I started the BBQ, heated the mulled wine and Marky started a few tunes.  My friend Tony put on a dodgy Santa suit and prepared himself to scare off the punters at the door!  A steady flow of guests soon turned into a flow and the BBQ got busy as Dave and my son Jake helped by taking money and shouting orders.  I didn't get to chat to many of the stall holders but Lucy went round with the camera taking photo's of everyone.  Her sisters had come along as well as her mum who had spent the previous day ensuring the farm campsite toilets were nice and clean, not a pleasant task by all accounts and a particular thank you to her!  Hannah, our next door neighbor setup her stall for her first ever show, displaying her sewing skills in the form of bags and other accessories.  Her husband, Matt, had ensured the barn was cleared out and a new layer of hay was on the floor to give the place some real atmosphere, this was also essential for the farm alpaca's who moaned all day as they had been rounded up out of their cozy field.

The day was a fantastic success, all our stall holders reported they had done well and we thank every one of them for coming along, they are all listed below.  With 200 guests coming through the barn door, we could not have hoped for a better 1st show!.

Lucy Tidbury - Pet portraits, cow themed handpainted gifts.
Sam's Fudge - Fudge!  (Lucy's Sister)
Cozy knits'n'bits, (Lucy's Mum) - Hand knitted gifts and flip flops.
Hannah Sew's (Our Neighbour) -  Hand made bags, accessories and impressive dress making
Steph Bakes - Delicious cakes and treats (chocolate brownie was Lucys favourite!)
Andrew Child photography - Stunning local landscape photographer and organiser of the Dorset Gallery shows in Wareham (next one is 6th December)
Periwinkle Designs - Driftwood and nautical themed gifts.
SO1O - Original handmade gifts & pieces for the home
Greenfox Floral Art - 'Dorset's wild Florist' ,floral and craft with a love of the coastline treasures.
Rebecca's Kitchen - Homemade chutneys, jams, jellies and other delicious goodies.
Louise Beer Crochet - First time crochet stall holder
Lilly and Grace Candles -  luxury hand poured scented candles.
Basket Boutique - Fabulous range of gifts and home ware accessories.
Romanet Wines  - Wine tasting events
Bag-See - handmade bags and accessories
Helen Lloyd Rose Cottage - Quality gifts for the home.
Lisa Berkshire Illustrations - Artist/illustrator living and working in Poole, Dorset.
Dave Worth Wood Turner - Blandford based wood turner
Bozley Crafts -  Hand made Swarovski Crystals and Swarovski Crystal Pearl jewelry.
Martha DeChazel local artist
Liminal Alchemy - Jewelry · Housewares · Ocean treasures
Dorset Wildlife Trust
Coffee to Go - keeping the stallholders warm with delicious coffee!

The Steeple Leaze Farm Christmas Fair 2014
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