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Oliver's Battery fete proves small is beautiful.
THE Oliver's Battery fete proved that sometimes the best things come in small packages. Mayor of Winchester Frank Pearson, who got proceedings under way, certainly agrees. “This fete has a very nice feel because the space is small and intimate. You only have to look at the stalls: there is nothing commercial, it's all home built.
“Every fete is different but this one more so than many others. This is a real community fete.” he said.
The battery was bathed in sunshine on Saturday (September 8) and, despite being only in its third year, this low-key, family affair already feels well-established and integral to the community spirit. Although still in its infancy, 'traditional' was very much the tone for this party. There was candy floss, a mini-steam train, bric-a-brac and the ubiquitous dog show - with some interesting awards up for grabs.
Jill Thomson, of Oliver's Battery Road South, watched on as her daughter Catherine, 9, came away with first prize for the Dogs Who Look Most Like Their Owners award. Mrs Thomson said: “This fete is great. It's just a lovely annual event. It's very informal and you get to see all your neighbours in one place.”
Judging the dog show, Reverend Mike Gardner said: “It's a challenge because I've never owned a dog, but I do have a collar. But it's just great to see all the different generations out with all their dogs and the owners have been as well behaved as the dogs.”
In between the live bands, with people stopping to observe the knobbly knees competition, or cheer the dogs with the waggiest tales, there was a very distinct soundtrack in the background. John Heath of the British Organ Grinders Association was there with a small, traditional organ and many a small child stopped, entranced by the music. Or was it the toy monkey that captivated them? Mr Heath said: “Well I think they like the music, you don't have to be young or old to enjoy the music. But I think it's the monkey on the front that enthrals them because he beats in time to the music.”
Relatively new it may be, but if Saturday's offering was anything to go by, one suspects the little fete on the battery will be enjoyed for many years to come.
Organiser Sara Kahner said the party was the result of a real team effort and attracted around 400 visitors.
“Rather than to make lots of money, the aim of this fete was to make a real community event” she said.
Mission accomplished then.