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Holbeach Vintage Rally
14th - 15th June 2014

The 2014 Holbeach Town & Country Fayre has outgrown the old field along Hurdletree Bank so has moved to another much larger field just around the corner a little further down Fen Road towards Saturday Bridge, the venue again provided courtesy of Ashley King. This made the event much more visible to passing motorists and when I came back from Holbeach town Saturday evening, certainly looked like a large show of substance. This I think is the fourth site for the rally, starting as it did in Carters Park before moving to the Old Golf Course before Hurdletree Bank.

The field itself doesn't appear to have been laid down long to grass but the only issue was a deep furrow running down the field that virtually everyone had to cross to get into position. It was certainly a back-jarring exhaust-bending fissure that could do with being filled and levelled if possible. There will always be a few things to improve on with a new venue but other than vehicle access into the parade ring, all seemed well laid out for a first time on a new field. Our stationary engine section had been swelled by the attendance of the Lincs Oil Engine Club posse who previously used to attend the Newark kit-car show, plus a few other new and returning faces swelled the numbers. There was quite a diverse selection of engines on show with one family bringing no less than six machines to run, although possibly not all at the same time.

The commercial vehicle section along the front edge of the field was basically one long line with just enough room for what turned up. If the military section could have its own line somewhere close by, all would be well. In front of that, a combined line of classic campers and caravans went from one side of the field to the other. There was then room for two or even three lines of cars facing the back of the craft marquees, trade stands and motorbike compound. At one end of the car-line Spalding & District grass-track racing club had a display of around half-a-dozen cars. The public entrance from the car-park passed right through the middle of a small but varied fairground, of which the main attractions of Dodgems & Juveniles were provided by the Gray family.

Their position meant that everyone passed them on the way in or out, but they didn't really benefit from being in a position where they could compete with other attractions on the field throughout the day, tucked away behind the biggest beer tent I think Holbeach has ever had. In front of the marquee was the main parade ring with the vintage commentary team of Steve & Alan in attendance. A double line of stalls and trade stands then bridged the gap between two more rings, one for the cabbage-hurling (with onions an alternative for the children) and a third alongside for a dog show. Three rings, Barnum & Bailey better watch out. The cabbage-hurling had its own commentator who is well suited to that type of entertainment but it didn't seem to have the popularity of last year when it was a main ring event.

Back in the main ring, Berkeley Owls, the Knights of Skirbeck and Spalding Ambassadors marching band provided some alternative fare to the machinery and vehicle parades. The number of catering establishments had fallen slightly since the glut of last year, but there was still just enough of a selection. The Big Red (ex London Routemaster) Bus providing pie and mash or fish and chips was flat out but had a substantial waiting time for orders. The bacon, burger & pork rolls trailer did steady busy all day, but the baked-potato stall was not as well used, but then not everybody wants a baked potato. The local Laddies ice-cream emporium provided ice-cream, confectionary, a few basic groceries for campers and newspapers both days, thanks very much.

Moving on down the field, the tractors were laid out in their usual angled formation and this year, fell just right for the sun to take photos. That said, weather conditions were dull and cloudy all weekend, and the wide-open Lincolnshire skies didn't offer too much sun to take advantage off. The well-supported horticultural section was next and then just a handful of bygones & model displays, and likewise steam with just the steward's own full-size engine and a couple of miniatures.

Tucked away around the back, Holbeach Marsh Farm Machinery Society had their usual display of mainly Ferguson equipment but alongside was in my opinion, the best exhibit on the field, a Star Wars AT-AT (All Terrain Armoured Transport) strapped on the back of a truck. This was a superb example of up-cycling, being made from all sorts of scrap or redundant objects. With wheels for feet, jerry cans for legs, it was fun to spot and name stuff such as a breadbin, fire-bells, tractor seats, vehicle exhausts, etc etc that had gone into making a superb model.

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