IT was the 25th year of a traditional fayre that marks the end of the summer harvest.
And the Alverstoke Village Michaelmas Fayre was as good as ever as hundreds of people bustled through the stalls and enjoyed an afternoon of fun.
Highlights included a Chinese Lion dance through the streets and music from Rose and Thistle Pipes and Drums, St Vincent Singers and pianist Alan Hellyer.
The village was a hive of activity wherever you looked.
The day rounded off with a Michaelmas Community Concert in St Mary’s Church, which had been decorated for the harvest festival.
Enjoying the fun was Diane Stephenson, president of Holbrook WI, which set up a stall in Green Road.
‘It’s brilliant,’ she said.
‘Every year Holbrook has a chosen charity and this year it’s the Rainbow Centre in Fareham.
‘Our 86 members have made cakes and jams to raise funds.
‘It’s great getting the community together. I enjoy seeing everybody walking away and saying “these are lovely cakes!”.’
Fruit and vegetables of all varieties filled the stall of Gosport Allotment Holders and Gardeners Association.
The group’s treasurer Val Sommerford said: ‘It’s all provided by the allotment holders and it raises funds for our association.
‘This fayre is wonderful.’
Sue Hitchman, who was selling antiques, has been coming to the fayre from the beginning.
Sue, of Hardway, Gosport, said: ‘They always give us the same spot on the corner which is nice. It’s a community event that brings people together.’
Michaelmas fayres go back several hundred years and were traditionally around the feast of St Michael on September 29.
It is associated with the end of the harvest, of nights drawing in and farm labourers seeking winter employment.
The Rev Andy Norris, rector for Alverstoke, said: ‘Michaelmas fayres are a community tradition that go back to the medieval period.
‘They can also be known as “Goose Fairs” from the days of Queen Elizabeth who ate goose to celebrate the nation’s deliverance from the Armada.
The fayre is organised by Gosport Rotary Club and St Mary’s Parish Centre.
Graham Fairhall, chairman of the organising committee, said: ‘This is our 25th year and there are 110 stalls. The income from the stalls and any income from the fair is shared between the parish centre and the Mayor’s charities.’