Our 13th annual Autumn Fayre went very well despite high winds forcing us to cancel tree climbing and local group stalls which were due to be in the wildflower meadow – a possible sign of climate change, which urgently needs acting on?
Almost 300 visitors, including 90 children, squeezed into the Environment Centre grounds and took part in a variety of activities from apple bowling to willow weaving with Angela Cole (also of Yorkshire Hurdles), foraging with Carl and wildlife safaris with Phil of Green Underwing Wildlife Education.
Thanks to help from Abundance, we pressed more than eight big crates of apples which resulted in around 100 litres of delicious apple juice being made and drunk on the day. Locally made soup and bread from Food Circle, produce made from St Nicks’ fruit, Coleman’s Yorkshire cider and beer from Brew York served in glasses on loan from York Beer & Cider Festival proved popular too.
A particular highlight of the event was Bake Off which raised over £200 for the charity and attracted 14 contestants including local businesses The Principal Hotel York, Trinacria Cafe Bar, Bistro Guy and Brunswick Organic Nursery Cafe. The organic Prosecco prize went to home baker Annie Norton whose raspberry cheesecake wowed the crowd.
The Longest Peel Contest overseen by our seasoned judges Jean and Joan was won by Tara Mason in the over 16s category who peeled a very good 130cm/51inch (the world record is 172 feet!) while Maya F. won the under 16s category with 9cm/3.75inch.
Our Eco-Crafters’s activities and the printing set with a linocut of a St Nicks’ tree kindly lent to us by Stephen Hodgkins attracted a steady stream of creatives. We were asking them to summarise in one word what St Nicks means to them or what they like best about it. Our favourites included enchanted, freedom and wild but there were lots more.
Throughout the afternoon spirits were kept high with music played by Paul Young, David Hammond, Helen Bell and Rich Lane. A few brave souls also took part in a singing workshop led by Chris Bartram, a member of the Natural Voice Network and director of Converge’s Communitas choir. The only free space was right by the gate which turned the group into a welcoming committee (and put some singers off).
The afternoon also provided an opportunity to reminisce over photos from St Nicks’ eventful history. Throughout 2018, we’ve been celebrating our 20th anniversary year as a registered charity which formed after a successful 1990s campaign to turn a part of the former Tang Hall Tip into a nature park.
We are currently compiling a book about our history, going all the way back to mediaeval ages from which we’ve adopted the name, but with special focus on the last 60 years or so. We are calling on all those who remember the former brickyards, rubbish tip or early planting days to share their photos and memories.
If you used to be one of the Tang Hall Tigers, local children’s volunteer group, or been involved in any other way in 1980s-early 2000s, or remember the site before it became this hive of green activity, please do get in touch to share your story. We’ll invite you for a chat over photos, tea and cake.
Overall, we had a lovely day and were pleased to see that lots of our visitors were having a great time and were keen to sign up to our Big Give Week to help grow our building. Big thank you goes to Lewis Outing for lovely photos (see more below) and all those who helped put the event on or contributed in any way!
Apparently our Autumn Fayre is “sure to please” so we hope to see you there next year on 12th October!