By Alix Norman
To you, May might be the start of the warmer weather, a time to think about breaking out the swimsuits and giving the coolbox an airing. But to me, this is a month that has always meant one of my favourite events of the year: the St Paul’s May Fayre. If there’s anything quite so enjoyable as browsing an endless array of books, munching on a mouth-watering hot dog to the musical accompaniment of the Police Band (and the even more enjoyable sight of the Fire Service), I’ve yet to discover it. Yes, this is an event which has it all, so you should be reaching for your diary and blocking off Saturday afternoon.
Taking place between 4 and 7pm on May 24, the May Fayre is an annual event at St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in the traditional vein of English village spring fairs (well, with added hot dogs and firemen). A charitable institution –funds raised from the event go towards supporting the Cathedral and the work of its congregation within the local communities – the May Fayre has been running for a number of years, bringing a touch of Ye Olde England to our Mediterranean shores.
Now, the St Paul’s May Fayre, while typically English in its teas and scones (admittedly while sitting in the shady courtyard surrounded by olive and poplar trees) has neatly incorporated local colour. There’s the Police Band, for instance, who each year put in a first-rate performance entertaining the crowds with their musical talents, while the Nicosia fire service allows kids (and the young at heart) the chance to climb aboard a real fire engine. There will even be a patrol car on site, a great opportunity to bring your camera along for a snap or two with the boys in blue.
Adding to this sense of community, a number of local schools and groups will be performing throughout the afternoon. Beginning with a show from the London School of Ballet, visitors to the Fayre will also have the chance to delight in songs from the choir of the Falcon School, together with a demonstration of Scottish Dancing. Meanwhile, the Junior School Cheerleaders – always a crowd-pleaser – will once again be giving an energetic and colourful display, followed by an exhibition of Latin American dancing to round off the afternoon’s performances.
Similarly, the variety of available cuisines reflects the international flavour of the St Paul’s congregation: a tasty selection of curries, fish balls and spring rolls will be on offer in addition to the traditional hot dogs and hamburgers. And, should you wish to take high tea to go, there’s always plenty of cupcakes, brownies, cookies and preserves on sale, a delicious treat when you put your feet up at the end of the day.
So, entertainment, music and plenty of sustenance – but that’s by no means all the Fayre has to offer. For anyone who enjoys a spot of retail therapy, this is the perfect chance to grab a bargain or three. A visit to the plant stall run by renowned gardening expert Alexander McCowan is a great way to pick up both a plant and some specialist knowledge; there’s no one on the island who better understands Cypriot horticulture.
And not only is there an exceedingly well-stocked bottle stand (every ticket wins a prize) there’s also the White Elephant (from which my jigsaw puzzle collection stems in its entirety), and the clothes stall. Running a close second to the bookstall in my humble estimation (I could probably survive without another outfit, but would be utterly lost deprived of a good read), this is the place to acquire everything you need to stock up for your family’s wardrobe.
To top it all off, there will be numerous children’s games and side-shows (including face-painting, and the always popular bouncy castle) to keep the kids safely entertained while you enjoy a well-deserved rest (and a freshly-baked scone). And, of course, at the end of the afternoon there’s always the raffle – a Grand Draw (first prize this year being a return ticket to the UK) with oodles of prizes to be won. So, this Saturday, round up the kids, call up your friends and head on down to St Paul’s May Fayre. See you at the bookstall!
The May Fayre
St Paul’s Cathedral Grounds, Byron Avenue, Nicosia, (opposite the Greek Embassy) this Saturday, May 24, between 4 and 7pm. For further details please contact the Parish Office on 22 445221, or call Pat on 99 609543 email: [email protected] Each year 10% of the proceeds are donated to a local charity and this year the Cathedral will be supporting Cans for Kids