Draycott Football Club and Draycott Memorial Hall committees were both struggling for funds in 1970. The Football Club had just re-
The surrounding area of central Somerset was renowned for the harvest homes which were put together by villagers and farmers to celebrate the completion of the year’s harvest, so it was agreed by committee members from both organisations that we should try to do something similar but instead of celebrating the harvest, we should base it around the Cheddar Valley’s main industry – strawberry growing.
Draycott Strawberry Fayre was the name chosen for the new event
Hopefully we could raise some funds which would go to the 2 organisations to help them buy a new football strip and to pay for some much needed repairs for the hall. A Strawberry Fayre committee was formed and made up from members of the football club and memorial hall committees.
As strawberries were grown in the summer only in the early 1970’s it was decided to hold the celebration in the middle of the strawberry growing season and the second weekend of June was chosen as the ideal time, as that was when the strawberries were becoming plentiful and their quality was reaching their peak. Every family in the Draycott area could be considered to be involved in the strawberry industry, some as a business – others as a part-
It was also agreed that there would be a strawberry competition where growers could exhibit their fruit and compete for prizes, in the first year there were 4 trophies competed for in various classes and over 30 growers exhibited.
A Strawberry Queen would be chosen from local girls to represent the valley’s strawberry industry – Sue Bunn – daughter of the original Chairman was the first Strawberry Queen.
This was a new venture and no one was sure how it would go. Neither organisation had funds that they could afford to put towards the new event so the committee members offered to underwrite the new venture if things did not go as planned, hopefully a profit would be made which would be the basis of future fayres funding.
Draycott’s Strawberry Fayre was born
Now 47 years later, the strawberry fayre is still running, although things have changed in the intervening years, strawberries no longer play such an important role in family lives with only a handful of growers now growing but on a much larger commercial basis with
the lure of a few extra pounds not being so evident for the smaller growers and they have subsequently dropped out of the industry.
Strawberries have also changed from the old traditional varieties grown back in the seventies now been replaced by the more European named varieties. Strawberries now are bred for their durability and last far longer than the ones grown in the early 70’s.
However the Strawberry Fayre still goes on and this year’s event will take place over the weekend of Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th June on the Draycott Playing fields adjacent to the new Memorial Hall, which has seen many changes since 1971, the old Memorial Hall in the village has been demolished and the site re-
Draycott Football Club still run a team and they play on the Village Playing Fields and in keeping with most other teams, now have the luxury of a new set of shirts most years as local pubs and businesses continue to sponsor the side. However the famous Draycott slope which gave teams a distinct advantage has now been done away with and the pitch is now parallel to the A371. The football club has progressed through the divisions of the Weston league and are now playing in the 3rd division of the Somerset Senior league, currently holding a mid-
The Strawberry Fayre this year will still have the traditional Draycott strawberries and cream as a main feature along with other stalls, sideshows, amusements and entertainment, children’s sports, refreshments, licensed bar and music supplied by the nearby Cider Barn. The committee are currently sourcing other forms of entertainment to put on for the afternoon entertainment and we hope that the weather shines for us and we get a good crowd which will raise valuable funds for both organisations and enable the committee to make donations to other village organisations.