Alfriston

FOUR FESTIVALS: A well-known TV show were asking why they should visit our little village for a feature. After waxing lyrical about the beauty, the valley, the history, the eccentrics, the ale and the people, I casually mentioned the festivals in the diary for 2016. Silence at the end of the phone, apparently not many places hold that many festivals. Yes we have four festivals in 2016, all very different, definitely festivals in the true sense of the word and definite dates for the diary.

THE BEAUTY IS IN THE WALKING: May is National Walking Month and The Labyrinth Festival June 11 to 18 with its exciting line up of artists, including Keith Pettit and Cliff Wright, art displays, talks and workshops will allow you to walk at a gentler place. The focus of the event is the Labyrinth, growing nicely and cut into the grass between St Andrews and the Cuckmere. In aid of St Andrews Restoration. For more information about the Labyrinth, workshops and talks visit the village website www.alfriston-village.co.uk/alfristonlabyrinthfestival

ALFEST 2016: A family friendly festival to showcase the abundance of award winning local food and drink produced in Sussex and the South Downs with musical performances and St Andrew’s Church as the backdrop July 9, The Tye. In aid of St Andrews Restoration.

SUMMER MUSIC: Good music does not have an expiration date. I was reminded of this when treated to an evening with the Friends of Alfriston Summer Music Festival and a wonderful performance by the Benyounes Quartet, the Artistic Directors of the 2016 festival. This wonderful week of music is in its 11th year and has attracted world class artists and fantastic young talent. The Festival Artists for 2016 announced on Friday promise a very, very special week of music, poetry and entertainment. July 26 to 31, St Andrews Church and Lullington Church. More details to follow in the coming weeks and visit the website http://www.alfristonsummermusic.co.uk/

ALFRISTON SUMMER FESTIVAL: Our traditional village four day Bank Holiday festival, with dog show, car show, produce, fun run and stalls. If anyone knows how long this has been running for please let me know. We do know it exceeds 30 years and if anyone has pictures of festivals of old please get in touch we would love to put together a montage.

CELEBRATE LIFE: This village celebrates life and April 21, The Queens 90th birthday was a true village affair on The Tye. Bunting and tea urn were out, cakes had been baked and the children, teachers and parents from the pre-school and primary school joined the rest of the village and enjoyed the sunshine, not to mention the bouncy castle. The flowers looked and smelt amazing in the church. The bells rang loudly, a second full peal for our bell ringers in a week and as the villagers climbed up to the beacon they could still be heard high up on the downs. The beacon was lit and happy birthday was sung. Thank you to everyone who took part and to Sylvia Daw, David Lewis and Mick for their fabulous organisation.

FESTIVALS TO BAZAARS: Alfriston WI Spring Bazaar will take place on May 21 at 2pm in the War Memorial Hall. There will be plants, books, bric-a-brac, chocolate, tombola and of course fabulous cakes. Recently WI members were treated to a patchwork afternoon with Dawn Monk, each member was provided with a kit to make a hexagon sample to be sewn together. I am looking forward to seeing that.

RESTORATION UPDATE: The fundraising continues and so far a stunning £15,000 has been raised. The next event is a Teas and Tables tomorrow (Saturday) where the twinning group will be putting the kettle on between 10am and 2pm. So if you want to find out more about twinning, join them tomorrow and hear about the exciting plans for Whit weekend, May 13 to 15, when 38 French friends will join us in the village for a Sussex Garden themed weekend.

Tomorrow is the last day of April and we are ready to relish May.

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