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Flower and Produce Show

Click here to view or download this year's schedule (in .doc format).

Enthusiasm is the only qualification for entry to the Brightwell Flower and Produce Show, held in July each year as part of the Village Fete. We have judges who know what they are talking about but, as for the entrants, many of us are rank amateurs and proud of it!

There are trophies to be won, the most recent addition being the Gilbert Talbot Rose Bowl, in memory of the Show's late president. However the only reward most people can aspire to is a prize card or two to put on the mantelpiece. Even so, each year we manage to attract an average of around 100 exhibitors. We are grateful for their efforts, which make the show tent one of the star attractions of the fete.

In the past, the show was a joint effort between the WI and the British Legion. Now, it is run by an independent committee. There are classes for flower arranging, fruit and vegetables, cooking and photography, as well as a junior section.

A full schedule, complete with entry form, can be found each year in the centre pages of the June/July edition of The Villager. Extra forms are available from June onwards at the Red Lion, or from committee members.

We are always on the lookout for new people to help out; if you are interested, please contact the Show Chairman, Paul Chilton, on 01491 836661 .

History

We do not know exactly when the Produce Show started. However, the History Group now has in its archives a copy of the schedule for the Brightwell, Sotwell and Rush Court Horticultural Show at Style Acre in July, 1914.

If you entered this show, you could undoubtedly expect to face some fierce competition. None of your namby-pamby ‘bowls of fruit’ for these exhibitors. You want to enter gooseberries? No less than 24 will do. Broad, Dwarf or Runner Beans were only acceptable in groups of 24 pods – and Jam came in 2 lb pots. Nothing less, nothing more. If you entered a Collection of Vegetables, you had to specify whose seed you had used – whether Lay’s, Hunt’s or Tarry’s - and keep the seed packet, to be produced if required.

Competitors paid 6d per entry, and there were cash prizes of up to half a crown. The biggest reward – at five shillings - came to the person who sent the largest quantity of Queen Wasps to the show secretary by June 1st (before 6 pm). Pity the hapless secretary, who presumably had to arrange for the destruction of all those Queen Wasps so lovingly collected.

Children under the age of 14 had a choice of two classes: A Vase of Wild Flowers (not something that would be encouraged today) and a Model of a Garden in a two foot box. Prizes were donated by people in the Big Houses, and there was more than a whiff of class distinction in the division of some of the vegetable classes between ‘farm labourers’ and ‘cottagers’.

Meet 'Bertie', a pineapple-and-cucumber tortoise by Emilia Brock, which won a first prize in the 2007 show. Please note that Bertie comes complete with strawberry to feed on!

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