West Hallam - Finishing Touches
w/e 17 July 2016
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

It's the weekend of the West Hallam Well Dressing Festival and in the past we have seen this uniquely Derbyshire custom both here and at various other places in the county. Not only have we seen the finished dressings but also how they are prepared as well as the many other attractions such as art and craft fairs, brass bands, folk singers and many dance troupes to name but a few that go to make up the festivals. None of these events would be possible without an army of volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to put the shows together so this year I thought I would pay tribute to these unsung people as they put the finishing touches to West Hallam's festival.

The Village

The festival opened at one o'clock on Saturday but when we arrived well before that, the village was already a hive of activity and many eyes were cast skywards hoping the grey clouds were not foretellers of rain. An ice cream van pulled up to prepare for business and barriers were already positioned ready to be placed across the road to stop traffic once the event had officially opened.

Gazebos were being erected at the side of the road.

Preparing the festival

Tables and chairs were stacked in School Square; a gazebo top was being secured nearby; heavy loads were being moved behind the Village Hall at the Craft Fair and tables were being positioned in The Village.
Getting Ready

Wares were being displayed on several of the stalls ready for the arrival of the crowds.
Hanging A Sign

Signs were being hung as those finishing touches were making everything perfect for the start of the Festival.

Preparations continue

Refreshments were being laid out; price labels added to plants that were for sale; tempting cakes were being arranged for maximum effect and olives were being stabbed with cocktail sticks.
Laying A Floor

A floor was being laid at the entrance to The Dales car park ready for performances by the Well Heeled Appalachian Dancers.

A final check was being done on this refreshment stall where there were drinks and even more cakes on display to tempt the visitors.
Stall Holders

Stall holders took their places under gazebos and behind tables from organisations as diverse as the Frailloop metal worker in the Craft Fair and the Rangers section of the Scouting and Guiding movement to the Local History Society and the national MacMillan Cancer Care fund raisers.

Opening Ceremony

Speeches and opening remarks had been written and delivered and shortly after one o'clock the festival was officially opened by Councillor Carol Hart.
Blessing A Well

Following a short service blessings appropriate to each well had been prepared and were delivered by Reverend Gill Turner-Callis from St Wilfrid's Church.
The Crowds Arrive

And then all the hard work that had gone on before was rewarded when the crowds began to arrive to enjoy the efforts of those unsung volunteers. Note too the clouds had got thinner and the shadows showed the the sun was shining on the festival.
Well Dressings

The voluntary work may have gone unnoticed by many of the visitors but even the well dressings that had drawn so may to West Hallam were testament to the loving care that had gone in to making these impressive displays. Derbyshire can be truly proud of its traditions.

And it doesn't stop there - Saturday afternoon continued with displays and performances by various groups, singers and dancers and on Sunday there was a Brass Band Concert in the afternoon. And I haven't even mentioned the Scarecrow Trail which runs all the following week ....

.... but I will now so click here for images from the Scarecrow Trail 2016.

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