Isfield Village Hall was looking its best today for its most important fund-raising event of the year – The Frost Fair.
The hall has been completely refurbished, with work done on kitchen, toilets, decorating inside and out, curtains repaired and rehung, new kitchen windows and floor maintenance.
Stallholders made the most of the setting for the fair and there were refreshments for visitors including cakes donated by villagers.
Local artists and craftspeople offered locally-produced gifts, such as knits, soft toys, ceramics, antique jewellery boxes and writing slopes, artworks, prints, jewellery, aromatic soaps and toiletries, and chocolates.
There was Christmas fare too, including cards, Christmas wreaths, table centres, decorations, Christmas tree ornaments, cheeses, fruit vinegars, curry mixes, and chilli sauces, chutneys and jams, mustard, Christmas cakes and puddings and gift packs.
And there was a pizza van to satisfy the hungriest of visitors.
Sue Biggins manned the Isfield Farm Shop stall and shared information about their Christmas Gift Boxes and their Christmas in a Box service which enables you to stock up for the festive season with turkey, beef, sausages, pigs in blankets, bacon, and also bread from the bakery, eggs, jams, pickles, cheeses, and veggie boxes.
Then in the three days before Christmas people are asked to choose a time slot to collect their order, and given a number so they can call in, pick it up and pay. The slick organisation means queues stay very short, says Sue.
If you would like to place an order please call 01825 751271 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The shop can be found in Station Road, Isfield, TN22 5EU.
Linda Brooks landlady at The Laughing Fish was selling Christmas-themed hand knitted toys at the fair. It took a year to make them all and she enjoyed the process. “It’s very therapeutic as a hobby break around running the pub with my husband,” she said.
Her favourite item was a Christmas wreath featuring a selection of penguins, snowman, robin, Father Christmas and a duck.
Fran Sansom, who works with her sister Patricia Nicholson, has only recently moved to Isfield and she brought her Beautiful and Useful memo boards, cards and decorative hook boards to the fair but was there for the social occasion too.
Suzanne Baker, from Buxted, was another stallholder. She brought along her own range of fruit vinegars.
Suzanne said her Great Granny Maynard invented wine gums and she remembers as a child enjoying her great granny’s raspberry vinegar on a Christmas roast. That was probably the inspiration behind her desire to start making her own fruit vinegars.
Suzanne used to run Mother Hubbards restaurant in Newick, which then became Hubbards, and is now Newick Tandoori.
She moved down to Devon where she ran a guest house and cookery courses and, because there was so much fruit available, began experimenting with vinegars.
Her oil free vinegars and dressings won recognition in Taste of the West and Great Taste Awards and eventually the business out-grew her own kitchen and until she found someone to make the vinegars and dressings on her behalf for distribution across the country. They are also available via mail order.
Isfield Village Hall treasure Katherine Meakin was delighted with the success of the Frost Fair. She said the morning was busy, people had a break over lunch and then turned out in force again during the afternoon.
The fair has raised about £600 in previous years and the management committee hoped it would do well again this year.