It’s a testimony to community spirit that an annual event can be so successful year in, year out. That community spirit belongs to Plympton St Maurice and the event is “The Midsummer Festival”. Every year the event gets bigger and better, and every year sees new faces help in the organisation of the Festival as youngsters from the village volunteer to keep the traditional celebrations going.
This year the Festival is being held from Friday June 15th to Sunday June 17th.
James Heesem, 25 is one of the upcoming organisers of the event. “The Midsummer Festival is one of my earliest memories” says James, who lives in the village. “Now I’ve been given the opportunity to work alongside Duncan and Paddy Bray who have run the event successfully for many years and have been its mainstay. It’s important that the event carries on for future generations to enjoy and between us we hope it will.”
James and the other younger members of the Midsummer Committee are happy to follow the successful formula of the age-old celebration and this year will be no exception. The weekend starts off on a high note with the Joshua Reynolds choir performing on Friday night at 7.30 at St Maurice church. They’re performing “100 Years of Music” which includes many popular tunes. Tickets £5 on the door and includes a glass of wine.
The Lamb Feast kicks off on Saturday June 16th at noon with a procession of glorious classic cars wending their way through the village to the Castle Green. The local Stannator and his Youth Ambassador will be in the lead car and the vehicles can be admired throughout the afternoon.
Succulent lamb baps are one of the attractions enjoyed by many. And there’s all the fun of the fair for the entire family – including the dog! Each year the dog show is well supported with pooches of all makes strutting their stuff, trying to catch the judge’s eye.
Martial arts expert and teacher Andy Cooper will be demonstrating a variety of skills including self-defence with pupils from his classes held at the Plympton Guildhall. Football your thing? then try your skills on the football speed machine - one of the many activities available.
Youngsters will enjoy the swing boats, face painting and bouncy castle, candy floss and yummy Devon icecream. Wander round the many stalls selling everything from plants to cakes then rest your legs in the tea tent and listen to the steel and brass bands or watch the Susan Jane School of Dancing as one of the arena events.
Pulling all this together will be no problem for event compere John Govier. John, a former BBC Radio Devon presenter now runs The Brook Inn pub in the village and is happy to volunteer for the role. “St Maurice is a great community” he says “and I’m glad to be part of it’
Over the weekend the Plympton Painting Group will be exhibiting art in the Plympton Guildhall. And keen gardeners are out in droves on Sunday June 17th. For many the jewel in the Festival crown is “The Hidden Gardens of St Maurice” when gardeners visit from far and wide to explore the beautiful gardens tucked behind the façade of the ancient houses. “It’s more than just enjoying the gardens” says organiser Freddie Mills. “The event gives everyone the chance to see the fascinating history that is still hidden in the village today.” Gardens open at 2 pm; tickets cost £5, children free. Ukelele players and cream teas in the church all add up to the lovely afternoon. It’s definitely a weekend not to be missed.