Bonfires at the Chingford May Fair by boxplayer

Bonfires at the Chingford May Fair

The finale of the Chingford May Fair - the twin bonfires are lit. At their base were lots of 'fear masks' and they were lit with kindling bundles also labelled with people's hopes and fears - the idea being the fears will burn up and be destroyed and the hopes will be released into the air.

Pilates first thing and Dave gave me a lift and picked me up again en route to and from his shopping trip.

Hada a roast aubergine and feta salad with a hot cross bun for lunch then got ready for my volunteering stint at the Chingford May Fair.

Terrible weather forecast and it was very cold and short sharp showers with hail had started even before I got to Chingford Plain - had to shelter in a newsagent's for 5 minutes in between buses.

But the sun did come out in between and we had the bonus of a couple of double rainbows particularly impressive viewed in the big sky over the plain.

The volunteering organising was a touch shambolic if not non-existent. Me and my two buddies were placed in the performance tent but with no real guidance on what to do.

Then the guy in charge of the whole thing moved us (without telling our duty leader) to the big brazier in the middle of the field with the task of making sure no one burned themselves. Not really what we should have been doing. We were entertained while here by one of the street theatre people - a woman who could play three recorders at once with her mouth and two nostrils.

We weren't given any clarity on break times nor anyone's phone numbers and I had to keep going into the admin tent to ask what was happening. We were eventually relieved for a much-needed sit-down and cup of tea - then we were sent to the tent where they were making the kindling bundles - and this proved more worthwhile as we finished off the last of these with people.

Surprisingly large numbers of people turned up despite the bad weather - there wasn't any catering on site - the idea being people were to bring picnics and make their own entertainment. But there was a free food feast made by the Hornbeam Centre and a local Sikh temple. And people were dispensing free tea from an impressive Russian samovar.

Round about 6ish a huge human chain was organised to get all the kindling bundles to the bonfire pyres. We helped with this, then tidied up the tent. Here we came across a large group of kindling bundles that hadn't been taken over to the pyres - so had to gather them all up and take them over - felt awful thinking people's hopes and fears wouldn't get a chance to get onto the bonfires.

Then there was a long wait after my shift finished for the lighting of the bonfires and the promised pyrotechnic display and it was cold still. Eventually stuff started to happen with a band of medievally musos starting up on the main stage and a rather atmospheric procession with drummers, a huge bird alternative May Queen type figure with a burning brand.

The 2 pyres were finally lit along with fireworks and some lighting effects. All very spectacular. Very cold by now, so rushed to the bus stop with the crowds and on home to mozzarella burgers in pittas with Friends.

Kindling bundle human chain

4 May 2019
Chingford E4
May 6th, 2019  
Fabulous! Such a raging fire
May 6th, 2019  
Lovely idea and the pyres look great... shame about the organisation though!
May 6th, 2019  
Those fires are awesome!
May 8th, 2019  
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