Out and about
Photo by Neil Baker
Strawberry Fair 2009
Dress hip, dress hippy, dress hip-hop for the city's best-loved festival - Saturday 6th June sees the return of everyone's favourite one-day spectacular - the 37th annual Strawberry Fair!
Strawberry Fair, Midsummer Common, Cambridge. Saturday 6th June, 2009. Parade from 11.00am; Fair opens at midday. Free entry.
It's like a Mecca for the millions - well, quite a few thousand at any rate. Come one, come all - Strawberry Fair is a fabulous family day out. It's just about the trendiest place to be seen if you're a teen, and for the rest of us, it's a chance to chill or strut - the choice is yours.
There's barely a strawberry in sight unless you count the giant plastic ones on top of the beer tent, but it's still the cream of the crop when it comes to sunny summer one-dayers.
Strawberry Fair: Copyright Mike Thornton
Rain or shine, Strawberry Fair never fails to pack the crowds in to Midsummer Common - not to mention the hundreds who travel to the city from all over the UK adding to the day's eclectic - and eccentric - atmosphere. The great, the good, families, happy hippies and a number of the great un-washed all make their way to the river to enjoy good food, great music - and generally soak up the atmosphere.
Strawberry Fair traditionally makes its presence felt with a massed parade of samba bands, steel drums and stunning costumed creatures. This usually leaves Midsummer Common around 11.00am, but it's a bit of a moveable feast which gradually wends its way through the centre of the city, reminding shoppers that's there are better things to do today than buy some new pants!
This year's theme is Strawberry Nation, which will celebrate the multi-cultural nature of our fair city - ah yes, we're all strawberries under the same sky - or something like that...
One of the major attractions is the wide range of live music on offer from midday when the Fair really kicks off until whenever we all run out of energy. With over four stages, including the ever-popular BigWam there's something for everyone - most of it homegrown talent.
Don't miss the chance to see some of the stars of the future, demonstrating their talent with enviable energy - well, they're all under 18 so they've got plenty of it - in the Future Tent; or if that's just TOO energetic for you, take a breather in the real ale tent where you'll find the Acoustic Stage and a fine selection of bubbly beverages to boot.
We'd love to tell you about some of the acts you can see on the day, but they won't tell us. In fact, they won't tell anyone. It's a well-kept secret and the line-up is only ever published in the fair's programme which is available on the day - and not a moment earlier! Apparently, they COULD tell us, but then they'd have to kill us...
Photo by Darren Bradnick
Somewhere up in the mountains there's probably a very lonely goat-herd as most of his flock seems to get curried in honour of Strawberry Fair - and very good it is, too. They do things with felafel that you wouldn't believe and there's nothing crepe(y) about the man who makes the giant gallettes!
And drink? Well, it wouldn't be a fair without at least two huge beer tents, would it? But fear not, there's plenty of chilled water, soft drinks and more exotic liquids to try... basically, if it sits still for long enough, someone will juice it for you!
For many, just being at Strawberry Fair is entertainment enough, but if you need a little more stimulation of the senses, then try a bit of anarchy or healing in the Green Area; kick-back and watch the roving performers; get arty, crafty, tattoo'd or watch some of the best new shorts at the Fair's very own Film Festival.
And if you fancy being part of the entertainment yourself, sign up by 1.30pm on the day for an open mic slot on the Blaggers' Stage. Do whatever you like - it's YOUR stage!
Unwind your mind...
Need to get away from it all for a few minutes? You could do worse than wend your way to the relaxing BBC Headroom Tent - it does what it says on the tin - gives you room to get your head around stuff:
Following its hit launch at Radio One’s Big Weekend, the 2009 BBC Headroom Festival Tent rolls into Cambridge offering Strawberry Fair-goers a chance to unwind and discover new, fun ways to deal with life’s everyday ups and downs.
The tent's made up of several different zones and activities which start even before you've walked inside! Surrounded by a picket fence, the Headroom Garden is a place to sit back, relax and refuel. It's a great space to take stock, eat a picnic, play games, or simply chill out on a deckchair.
Inside, in the Simple Pleasures area, you can try free 20-minute taster sessions and workshops including relaxation exercises, Tai Chi and drumming (let's hope you're not taking it out on the drums while you mate is trying to meditate!!)...
Strawberry Fair(y): by Stuart Swift
There are loads of free activities for kids including a circus, magic shows, bouncy castles, face painting, trampolines, arts and crafts, PS3s and Wii, a climbing wall and much more. Plus there's a special family chill-out area so you can keep the kiddies away from all that beer and the funny smells that seem to come from some people's cigarettes...
The ethical bit...
It's Your Fair - Play Fair
Strawberry Fair believes in being a good neighbour and so last year saw the launch of a campaign to encourage visitors of the Fair to not only respect others whilst enjoying the entertainment but also those living nearby Midsummer Common. There's nothing revolutionary about what they're asking you to do, it's all just common sense, really, innit?
No, you can't, so don't try. No camping is allowed on the site and the areas next to Midsummer Common are being managed by stewards to ensure that no tents are erected there.
However, don't despair - use this link to the Strawberry Fair official website and check out their 'info' section. There's loads of information there about where you CAN camp, plus masses of accommodation and travel details.
Remind yourself of the fun and frivolity of Strawberry Fair with our galleries from past years:
And we always want to see your pictures too, so remember to take your cameras with you and send in your photos of this year's fair for our gallery:
Strawberry Fair 2009 - Saturday 6th June from midday 'til late
last updated: 05/06/2009 at 11:34
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