History of the Stretham Feast

 

History of the Feast

The Feast started in 1877 in order to raise funds for Addenbrookes Hospital, which in those days was dependent on voluntary contributions.
The Feast always started on the third Sunday in May, taking the form of a week long celebration with activities such as cricket matches, a parade on the Sunday, dances, stalls, a fair that would sited in the High St and a brass band concert.
In the early 1900’s, the village children were given 3 school days off for the Feast.
Before the by pass was built, the A10 ran through the village High St. When the traffic flow increased the Feast fair was moved to Chapel Square and then the Recreation Ground.
Traditionally people who have moved away from the village would “come home for the Feast”.
In recent times the feast evolved into just a the parade and then into a fete that took place on the Recreation Ground, when it was no longer possible to have the parade.
The Parish Council have formed a Sub-Committee, made up of Councillors and interested local residents, in order to revive the Feast as a village celebration.

Stretham Feast 2014

The Feast took place over Friday 16th May, Saturday 17th May and Sunday 18th May.  In 2013 over 1,500 people attended the Feast Fayre and parade and the number of people attending in 2014 was even more. The weather was wonderful and the sun shone all day.  With volunteers running and setting up the catering the problems of long queues did not re occur. We are grateful to the volunteers giving up their time as it means all of the profit gets invested in the Feast.This year the Feast  commemorated the centenary of the start of the First World War. Past and present service men and women from Stretham were invited to attend Feast day.
Mr Ron Yardy cut the ribbon to start the parade. Ron is an ex service man who’s military career includes being part of the Berlin Airlift. To reflect this year’s theme the Feast charity in 2014 is BLESMA, which is a national charity that directly supports all of our service men and women who have lost limbs and the use of limbs or the loss of eyesight in the honourable service of our country. All money collected during the parade goes to BLESMA. An amazing £622 was collected!
Local historian Mike Petty hosted an evening of Feast memories with photographs celebrating Stretham Feasts of the past.
The Feast Farmers Market was a great success with local people selling locally grown or produced food, plants or drink.
The introduction of a Tug of War competition at the Feast Fayre was enjoyed by many people either by watching or participating.
Thanks goes to everyone who was actively involved and especially those who volunteered their time or services for free.