When the first Surrey Hills Wood Fair took place just four years ago, I’m sure that we never expected it to have become such a brilliant event in such a short time. This years Fair, on 5th & 6th October, took place with about 110 exhibitors – the majority of them being local businesses and crafts folk – and a public attendance of over 4000 people from the surrounding area.
We were lucky in that we had two warm dry days but the wide range of attractions for all the family meant that visitors came in the morning and stayed most of the day. In fact more than one family came back on the second day because they enjoyed it so much and hadn’t got round to seeing everything!
We had everything – from very large scale commercial woodland management equipment through to delicate decorative pieces created by people with great artistic skill and an eye for the beauty of wood. There were lots of coppice crafts workers demonstrating traditional skills plus businesses explaining about the use and installation of wood fuel stoves and boilers. There was chainsaw carving of a quality that had to be seen to be believed and many other demonstrations taking place throughout the weekend.
For the younger attendees there were nature talks and supervised tree climbing whilst all the family were able to take a horse and cart ride around the site to enjoy the scenery and get an overview of the event. Even the dog was catered for – with free micro-chipping and a company specialising in homemade dog biscuits and treats.
All that fresh air and interesting activity tends to bring on an appetite so we were pleased to be able to have a range of local catering organisations selling both vegetarian and meat based food. For the thirsty we also had local drinks providers (both hot and cold drinks) and one of our local micro-breweries.
We set out to promote “All That’s Good About Wood” by providing a showcase and selling opportunity for local businesses and craftsmen and to support that with other local products such as food and drink. The feedback from exhibitors and visitors tells us that we succeeded. People said “Loved it – I want to stay longer”, “Fantastic, suited everyone, boys toys and crafts for mum”, “Best day ever, stayed for 4 hours – a great birthday treat for my son”, “The best Wood Fair I’ve ever been to”.
If you attended, we hope you enjoyed yourselves. If you missed it, try to come next year! Provisional dates for 2014 are Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th October.