Sun shines as record crowds enjoy traditional fair at Oakwood Hill

Oakwood, Ockley & Forest Green Flower Show & Summer Fair SUS-150817-125735001
Oakwood, Ockley & Forest Green Flower Show & Summer Fair SUS-150817-125735001

The 117th annual Oakwood, Ockley & Forest Green Flower Show and Summer Fair took place on a blazing sunny Saturday afternoon on August 8.

Oakwood Hill Recreation Ground was once again transformed into a showground for this great community event.

With 1,500 paying adults and free admission for under 16’s, stall holders and Flower Show committee and volunteers, there were around 2,500 people in attendance.

This family oriented traditional rural show has been an almost annual event since 1893 and is a high spot of the local calendar.

The theme of this year’s show was ‘Food, Forest, Farming and Fun’.

In the huge marquee, there were displays of vegetables, fruit, baking and preserves, flowers, arts & crafts and photography. The theme continued on the showground with vintage working farm machinery, farm animals and a demonstration of hazel hurdle making by Gavin McCourt.

The food and drink area with exotic and local foods and local cider was as popular as ever. Dance and music was provided by the popular Mythago Morris dancers and a local trio playing swing and cool summer jazz classics.

Children enjoyed Punch & Judy, the ball pit, children’s sports, fairground attractions, owls, and a marquee with rescued parrots awaiting re-homing exhibited by Birdline UK Parrot Rescue.

There were 100 stalls, with wide-ranging appeal, from toys to clothes, collectables, books, music, games, plants and crafts and an eye catching display by Ockley Rocking Horses.

The tea marquee was as popular as ever, providing a chance to rest and recuperate and enjoy the delicious tea and cake provided by Pam Overton, her two daughters and Sonia Jones, with many of the cakes on sale baked and donated by Sonia.

The heart of the show is the large marquee with almost 200 classes for fruit, vegetables, floral displays, art, crafts, photographs, baking and preserves.

There was an amazingly high standard of entries in the horticultural classes, despite the weather making for a difficult growing season. Leslie Head won the coveted Banksian Medal for most points in Division B - Vegetables and Flowers - Open, while one of his regular rivals, Geoff Tidy won many of the classes in Division B. Geoff will be back next year to try to win the Banksian medal again.

The baking, always a well-supported Division, was notable this year for the first presentation of the Forest Green WI Memorial Trophy, as a memento for that WI Group, which has sadly recently disbanded.

The trophy was given for the best exhibit in the Fruit Cake class and was won by J Wyatt. Mrs Geraldine Irwin won the Maria Eppel Memorial Trophy for the best in show in baking for the second time.

The trophy was first presented last year in memory of our former and much missed show secretary. Bread, preserves, eggs and honey completed this section of the marquee.

Drew Andrews, was the faster runner under 10 years of age in the Road Race and in doing so won the Martin South Cup, which had been presented by his grandfather many years ago.

The Dexter family had a very successful day with Jenny and Dan Dexter and their son Sam winning 3 of the road race classes. Sam and his sister Katie also each won two of the children’s class in the marquee.

Dorking Deepdene Rotary Club once again ran the popular fun dog show.

The organiser of the Dog Show, Chris Milton, says: “The fun Dog Show is intended to appeal to all dog lovers with 13 classes cater to all dogs, pedigree to pets, puppies to veterans and we encourage everyone to bring their dogs, from small child to adult.”

Christine Wallace, show committee chairman, presented the cups in her final year associated with the show, having been involved for 40 years.

She is only leaving now as she is moving away from the area. Christine thanked all the volunteer helpers and her fellow committee members who work hard all year to put on the show and who strive to improve it year by year.

Report contributed by Graham Quinnell, Oakwood, Ockley & Forest Green Flower Show & Summer Fair. Pictures by Lucy Rowley.