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Boot, craft and produce fair

We were lucky with the weather for our first Boot Fair of the Year. Apparently at 7 am it was clear, but then a sea fret drifted in, and although this cleared from 9 am the air was still chilly. Thereafter, the morning was cloudy with patchy sunshine and a bit warmer.
Arriving under a cloudy sky for my 9 to 1 pm shift it was amazing to see the Martello Field well packed. There were 55 stalls, down on the 79 stalls last year. Last year was, however, exceptional, in no other year have there been 55 stalls in April.
The weather soon brightened, and I stuffed my top coat back in the car as I was instructed to help look after the public car parking. There was a steady influx of vehicles and we had to be careful to find positions for them in safety.
Stallholders seemed happy with amount of business when we were collecting fees. Several comments of "Good", one even told of "stuff flying off the stall". All customers were in good humour and lots of them delighted with the buys they made. The young lad in the picture seemed well pleased with the mask he purchased (or more likely the adults bought for him).
Donation buckets were at the higher end of norm and Rotary Stall had a good morning. Neither were record breaking but good. Due to the lower number of stalls, overall take was down from last year but nevertheless better than any other year.
There were many unusual items for sale, including a full size mannikin, a bread machine, a fire extinguisher, and a boxer's punchbag (look out Seaford !!!). When we arrived to collect the pitch fee, the stallholders were trying to prop the punchbag in an upright position. At the end of the Fair the stallholder told us that she had sold the punchbag to a lady, but the purchaser had not returned to collect the item. After much discussion and exchange of contact details, Tony Henley took it home and somehow the purchaser contacted him and was re-united with her purchase.
That was not the only lost item. A member of the public handed in pair of spectacles at the Rotary stall. Again, as a result of our publicity on Facebook, the owner was re-united with his property. The glasses had been mislaid several days before the Fair, and he was very grateful that we had publicised that they had been found, as it had saved him nearly £300 for their replacement.
Even the ice cream man (Charlie) had some good sales but a negative was the non-appearance of the Fast Hot Food van. Many people were disappointed to go without their Boot Fair Breakfast. Apparently, Tony Henley was told at short notice the Food Stall owners had sold their business and neglected to pass on our contacts to the people who bought it. Hopefully we can get a replacement for the next Fair.
Congratulations, though, to Tony and Dave Argent who work so hard at this project. With the new banners and notices it is much improved from when this event started with Ron Hatley, Mike Hemmings and former member Peter Bramich in about 2011 during the Fund-raising chairmanship of Bill Pierce.

posted: Sunday, 7 April 2019

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