It’s 8am on Saturday 19 June 2021, and PSJ is sitting patiently in his loaded up car, waiting in a queue at the entrance to St George’s field in Ferndown, the venue for the return of Ferndown & Parley Rotary Club’s annual Fete on the Field event after last year’s cancellation. He sees David Allen, the other member of the 2-man FBN set-up team, who is searching for a Rotary colleague who has the site map which indicates the position of each stall. No-one can find the site map and the queue of vehicles continues to grow for the next 30 minutes. Suddenly, a large red 4 x 4 vehicle finds a gap in the fence and forces his way to the front of the queue. Everyone else notices his German licence plate and a few toot their horns in frustration. This must be the Bratwurst Hot Dog stall man! Minutes later, the site plan is found and at last all the vehicles gradually enter the field, proceed to their allotted positions and unloading of equipment begins amid much chuntering about “that red car”.
Plot B22 is conveniently third in from the public entrance gate and we start by laying out the gazebo poles & connectors on the ground, actually following the instruction plan which is in English rather than Chinese. To our surprise, everything fits where it’s supposed to as the second 2-man team of Paul Wales and Peter Read arrive and nod their approval when there are no parts on the ground that we have forgotten to fit. We even put the canvas roof on the correct way with the Velcro fasteners on the inside. Then, with one man on each corner, we lift the whole structure up to its full height and insert the legs – Bingo, we have a very attractive stand! All that remains to do is hammer a peg into the foot of each leg to prevent the whole thing flying away, clip the fasteners to the cross members and fasten the vertical back sheet to the frame to hide the car parked immediately behind but also to act as a contrasting backdrop for the pop-up banners.
The table is positioned at the front, it’s dressed with the new FBN cloth, and the pens, cards, flyers & wallets are neatly arranged on top. A second, smaller table is placed at the back for FBN members to display their own promotional material. 2 folding chairs complete the picture and we’re ready to go with half an hour to spare before the masses enter at 11am. PSJ then grabs a handful of cards & flyers and has a wander around the rows of stands looking for any who could be considered potential new FBN members as well as spotting the positions of food & drink stalls. At the same time, Gavin Smith, Ian Pounds and Maria Tidy arrive and start setting up their own stalls alongside ours. At every event PSJ has attended with Maria, she always has her minder (her Mum) with her and they make a very good double act! Paul Wales expresses the need of some breakfast at this stage and wanders off to the English sausage stall at the end of his shift. We also say thank you & goodbye to Peter Read. David Allen & PSJ go for a well earned coffee.
Soon after returning to the stand, the next member of the team arrives. It’s Tatiana Hibberd and the conversation starts around things like “Oh, you’re taller (or shorter) than I expected” since we’ve only seen each other ‘top halves’ on Zoom screens. But it’s now 11am; the gates are opened, individuals, family groups etc., start filing in and the show starts. The team engages with anyone who comes anywhere near our stand, handing them a flyer (& the occasional free pen) and explaining that we’re a group of local traders & professionals who can be trusted to do excellent work in their respective fields.
It’s been overcast, grey and unusually cold all day with rain forecasted for around 5pm when the show officially ends. None of us wants to de-rig in the rain, so we (& some of the other stall holders) start packing away soon after 4pm and by 4.30pm we’re ready to leave – it’s always surprising that packing up to leave is so much quicker than unpacking to start.
It’s definitely been a worthwhile event for FBN in terms of engaging with those who were looking for the services that we as members offer because it was a family fun day and we were talking to members of the public. We handed out many flyers. It was NOT a Trade show and therefore little potential for finding or identifying new members, although we kept our eyes & ears open.
Maria did extremely well with her ‘attraction’ of toy prizes in a locked cabinet. Pay £1 and choose 4 keys from the bag; if one of them was the correct key, it opened the cabinet and the lucky winner could pick a prize from inside. Children loved it and their parents were happy to donate £1 for a chance for their child to win.