Harwell Feast is a much loved annual event held in the Oxfordshire village of Harwell, with its origins steeped in history and with a lovely traditional feel.
There are craft stalls, food stalls, food vendors, a kids adventure area including a travelling fairground and inflatables, a teen zone plus living history & re-enactment groups (which vary from year to year), steam and traction engines, classic cars, ferret racing, falcons, Punch & Judy, live music and displays in the main arena, and much much more. It is a fantastic day out for (young and old alike) everyone.
The Harwell Feast is held at the recreation ground in Harwell village (postcode OX11 0LG). Parking can be found in the next field with access off Reading Road (A417). The car park is a strictly left turn only, approached from the roundabout at Rowstock.
Harwell Feast is traditionally held on the spring bank holiday Monday. In 2023 this is Monday 29 May. It starts at 11am with a parade with vintage tractors towing floats created by local organisations, through the village. Classic vehicles, musicians and living history groups make their way through the village from Townsend along the High Street to the recreation ground, entering the recreation ground via Wantage Road.
The event usually ends at around 4pm. More information for the current year can be found here.
Entry to the event is by programme *. These are available at both the car park entrance and the recreation ground car park entrance to the event. To avoid queuing, visitors are encouraged to buy their programme ahead of the day, they are available at a reduced price from local shops and the Harwellian Club in the week leading up to the event. A limited number of programmes will also be available to buy at the reduced price (cash only) from Feast volunteers in the High Street just before the start of the parade.
*Under 16s have free entry.
Not only is Feast day a great day out for the whole family, it is a much needed fundraiser for village organisations such as the school, scouts, village interest groups. After the accounts have been finalised local organisations are invited to submit a grant request, usually by the end of August. The requests are reviewed by the committee and grants are allocated from the surplus funds and distributed at the AGM which is usually held in October.
Harwell Feast is organised by a small team of volunteers. The team start planning in January when the website is updated and booking forms are made available. Meetings become more frequent as Feast day draws closer.
Additional volunteers are needed to step in over the bank holiday weekend to help with setting out the field, manning the gates / marshalling on the day and clearing up afterwards. The team are always looking for additional help so if you have time to spare it would be very much appreciated.
The team also arrange an annual village quiz which is usually held on the last Friday of November in the village hall. The surplus from this is added to the funds available for grants. Check the website or Facebook page for further details.
Photo credits: Mums Family Fun, Martin Ricketts, Karen Cruddis
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