|Apple Pie Fair: Last Saturday in July
Annual event takes place on
Donkey Rides etc....
PROGRAMME OF ARENA EVENTS
12.00 -12.15 Procession onto Meadow
12.15 -12.30 Judging
12.30 -12.50 Presentations
12.50 - 1.00 Crowning of the Princess
1.00 - 1.10 Welcome Speech
1.10 - 1.20 Cutting of the Apple Pie
1.20 - 1.40 Pipe Band
1.40 - 2.00 Tae Kwon Do
2.00 - 2.15 Torbay Twirlers
2.15 - 2.30 Riveria Twirlstars
2.30 - 3.05 The Red Sparrows
3.05 - 3.25 Moves to Music
3.25 - 3.45 Boxercise
3.45 - 4.00 Flashing Blades
4.00 - 4.30 Temple Gym
4.30 - 5.00 Raffle Ticket Winners announced
ALL TIMES APPROX AND
SUBJECT TO CHANGE
The people of Marldon owe a good deal to George Hill, who died towards the end of the last century, for he was probably the originator of the Apple Pie Fair. Members of the Hill family still live in the village and, indeed donated the trophy for the main Apple Pie Competition. During the apple season George used to travel weekly to the market at St. Marychurch on his donkey with panniers full of apples. On his return the panniers would be full of washing to be laundered by his wife. Legend has it that it was the donkey that lead George home rather than the other way round! On the day of the Annual Fair and Sports held in Cary Park, St. Marychurch, George drove a cart, drawn by two black donkeys wearing harness and reins decorated with plaited straw, round the town carrying a huge apple pie. The pie, oval in shape and about the size of a kitchen table, ended its journey at the Fair and was eaten with cream. The Marldon Apple Pie was a feature of the Annual Fair at St. Marychurch, until George died.
Marldon too, had its Annual Show and Sports every September from 1888, and the Marldon Apple Pie was a feature of the procession to the field. It was baked at the Royal Oak (now a private residence in Village Road) and was drawn in procession behind a band. According to past recorded memories of villagers the pie was baked in several sections and assembled as a full pie on the donkey cart. The villagers referred to the annual event as "Apple Pie Day".
Apple Pie Day was revived in 1958 (as a result of researches carried out by a number of villagers) as a way of raising funds for the Village Hall, and the Apple Pie Fair has been held annually ever since. This year is the 45th Fair in succession to carry on the tradition started in 1888 by George Hill and his fellow villagers. The sale of apple pies and clotted cream is not the only surviving tradition of Apple Pie day for the main pie is still taken to Jubilee Meadow on a cart pulled by a donkey. The present donkey is called jack (owned by Joyce Dunn, whose daughter lives in the Parish and looks after him), but we remember with affection his predecessors Jill and Barney.
Information is still coming to light about the origins of the Fair and we have several newspaper pictures of George Hill and his donkey. A recently acquired cutting refers to an article in the South Devon Journal in 1863 (!) which suggests that George Hill had "an excellent team of eight donkeys, harnessed with straw" which "formed a prominent feature of the procession at Torquay". Certainly, at the revival in 1958 Mr. W. H. Bridgman (then 80 years old) recorded his memory of riding in 1888 one of four donkeys which pulled the cart containing the pie. I wonder what future research will reveal. Perhaps we will have to revise the earlier paragraphs!
The event now draws together members of village organisations and residents of Marldon, Compton and Westerland in a combined effort to produce the Apple Pie Fair. The sale of apple pie and cream is a feature and attractions include various arena events, an exhibition of craft activities and the work of local artists in a large marquee, plus numerous sideshows and stalls. The opening ceremony includes the official crowning of the Apple Pie Fair Princess (with her Attendants, chosen by ballot from children in their last year at Marldon Primary School. The Opener, helped by the Princess and her Attendants, then cuts the Apple Pie, which is sold with clotted cream, and small individual pies on one of the Village stalls run by the Village Hall Council. We have always been very fortunate in that a long list of celebrities (local, national and international) have given freely of their time to crown our Princess, and officially open the Fair. Today is no exception!
The main organisation of the Fair is done by an ad hoc Sub-committee of the Village Hall Council but it relies heavily on the help and support given by so many. The profits of the Fair help to keep the Village Hall in "apple pie order" and it also gives all village organisations a first class opportunity to raise money for themselves.