Balsham Feast

Balsham Feast 
Recreation Ground, Church Lane, Balsham CB21 4DS
Saturday 2nd July 2022 1pm to late

The Balsham Feast Committee are excited to announce the return of the Balsham Feast on 2nd July 2022 on the recreation ground. Activities will commence at 1pm and will continue on through the evening with live music and refreshments.

To keep up to date with the Feast’s activities, please follow us on Facebook.

The Balsham Feast, a biennial event, is a village event bringing the community together with plenty of fun activities for all ages. Many of the village’s clubs and societies come together to run some of the activities at a small cost.

The committee are planning a more traditional event this year with

* Classic Cars and Motorcycle Display* The Blood Runners Bikes
* Have a Go Show* Cheffins Valuations
* Punch and Judy Shows* Donkey Rides
* The Raptor Foundation* Mini Monsters
* Model Steam Trains* Mega Slide/Bouncy Castle
*Bowling at the Stumps* Beat the Goalie
* Target Archery* Target Golf
* Outdoor Bowls* Teddy Bear Parachuting
* Bell Ringing Demonstrations* White Elephant Stall
* Soft Toy Tombola* 9 Hole Crazy Golf
* Dance Displays* Musical Maze
* Linton Fire Appliance

classic cars, flower show – known as the “Have a Go Show” so if you grow it show it, donkey rides, 9 hole crazy golf, inflatables, raptor display, face painting,  stocks, splat the rat, dance troupe display, Punch and Judy shows, target golf, archery, bowing at the stumps, target bowls plus much more.

Refreshments are available throughout the day. The café will be serving cakes, tea, coffee and soft drinks and pizzas made on site from BPP catering will be up for grabs during the day. The scouts are providing the daytime and evening BBQ and the Black Bull is running the bar throughout the day. The Haverhill Silver band will be playing their most popular hits and the Cambridge University Ceilidh Band and Life and Soul will provide the evening entertainment. All major activities are provided free of charge.

If you would like to view the “Have a Go Show” schedule, please click here.

Refreshments are available throughout the day. The café will be serving cakes, tea, coffee and soft drinks and vegetarian pizzas made on site from BPP catering will be up for grabs during the day. The scouts are providing the daytime and evening BBQ and the Black Bull is running a licenced bar throughout the day. Also The Only Way is Gin will be serving craft gins.

The Haverhill Youth Community Band will be playing their most popular hits along with the Balsham Singers putting on a performance. During the early evening, The Cambridge University Ceilidh Band will be playing with Life and Soul providing the evening entertainment. All major activities are provided free of charge.

In the Church Institute, you can view WW2 memories along with photos, maps and images of Balsham during the Queen’s 70 year reign.  Also a once in a chance opportunity to view the archaeological finds from Samworth Close and Farriers Yard.

Fancy Dress

New for 2022! The Balsham Feast is giving you the opportunity to be creative and take part in the fun “Strictly Come Fancy Dressed” competition. Judged by Balsham’s equivalent to Dragon’s Den, it is an opportunity to show off your creative skills.

The Meadow School has been focussing on the environment this year so we decided to theme the fancy dress “Planet Earth”. It is not compulsory, so come as anything you like.

Judging is at 2pm.

Pre-register here for free. Registrations on the day are before 1.30pm.

Age groups are: up to 5 years; years 5 to 12; and everyone else.

Stewards Needed
The Balsham Feast Committee take Health and Safety as well as safeguarding very seriously. To make sure our event runs seamlessly and without incident, we need more volunteers to help with stewarding. If you are 18 and over can spare an hour or two during the course of the event, please do get in touch by email.

However, we cannot accept responsibility for events on the field held by village clubs/societies and other independent organisations.

History of the Balsham Feast

In 1245, the Bishop of Ely was granted (we assume by Royal Decree) a village market that was to be held in Balsham each Monday, plus an annual three day fair to be held at the Holy Trinity Church. It is very likely that the three day fair was the pre-runner of what we now know as the Balsham Feast, traditionally held during the first week of July.

In the early 1900’s, the fair, spread over three days, was held in the Black Bull yard, spilling out into the street with travelling showmen, rides and stalls. There were also children’s sports, old folk’s teas and cricket matches. The school log book from 1900 to 1927 records that the school was closed for a three day holiday in July celebrating the fair.

After the Second World War, it seems that the fair was reduced from a three day event to a one day event, with travelling fairground rides and stalls held in the Bell Meadow. A photo from 1946 shows an event being held on the old cricket ground (now the Meadow School) with a Flower and Vegetable Show taking centre stage, plus fancy dress and all the fun of the fair. It continued in this form until Mr May sold the field in the late 1960’s for the building of the School.

When the recreation ground came into being, a committee was formed to raise funds to build the sports pavilion and various fundraising events were organised, including a summer Carnival Week. This was run annually for several years and proved to be very successful. It included a Saturday parade of lorry, tractor, trailer and bicycle floats, decorated by village organisations, ending up on the recreation ground where the fair was held. By the 1990’s the carnival was discontinued, perhaps because of a lack of volunteers.

There were still major annual events held for the village. The 1st Balsham Scouts held a one day village Fun Day in July on the recreation ground for three years, with village groups participating. The Meadow School held an annual Spring fundraising event called May Revels until a series of washouts forced it to change to June. The Horticultural Society, now the Gardening Club, held an annual village show for many years. Since its inception, and in Feast years, this is now held as a “Have a go Show” in the marquee on the recreation ground.

It wasn’t until the year 2000, that the Balsham Ploughmen decided to revive the traditional village Feast. It was only meant to be a one off to celebrate the Millennium but proved so successful that it ran again and again. After three Feasts, the Ploughmen decided to make it a larger biennial event in even years. In 2015, in preparation for the 2016 Feast, the Ploughmen decided to hand over its organisation to an independent village committee.

Images from 2018 Balsham Feast:

Images of Feasts gone by:

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