Saturday, 14 January 2012

Spen Valley’s Summer Solstice Festival 2009

The 2009 celebration was held at Brenk House Farm, Coxwold by kind permission of Mr and Mrs Burn. Situated on the south west corner of the North York Moors National Park just one mile from the beautiful village of Coxwold. As with many working farms we expected to see cattle, sheep, and tractors depending on the season. But most likely we met Muffin, the Old English sheepdog
As with last year the fun began with Fair ground type games such as tests of strength in Nail Hammering, agility in Pea in a Bottle and Splat the Rat. Quizzes and a giant Buzzer game. We were also kindly loaned by our hosts, Gill and Keith their “Labyrinth” game. Although now a days played in fun most of these games have their origin in the day-to-day lives of our ancient descendants. Though out the evening music was provided by John Clarke

Most people participated in the games and for every time they played they were given a token, representing part of the meal: - A wild Hog, Vegetables and A wheat sheaf. Those who colleted 3 tokens then received, their free supper, which was Bar-Be-Cued Local Pork Sausage, 3 Bean Casserole and Crusty Bread. Chosen to be part of the Mid summer celebrations over the years.The Local Pork Sausage representing The Wild Boar, symbolic of the ancient mans hunted meals.
The Crusty Bread symbolic of later meals gathered or foraged and cooked on an open fire.
The 3 Bean Casserole can also be as the above, but also pays homage to the 1980’s “Bean Feast” Festival, which tragically ended in unprovoked violence

After the revellers had eaten their supper most changed into costume for the next part of the evening. The Bonfire Ceremony, which started with Ian reading the Prayer for the Benediction of the Midsummer Bonfire. Then the Master of Ceremonies (That’s me) gave Instructions and then the Head “Lady of the flowers” lead The Casting of the flowers. The “Wizard of Spen” (Richard) then lit the fire, once again held in a Fire-Pit. Then the rain came down and it was touch and go to if the Torch Light Parade could continue, but in the end it did go ahead.

The Parade was lead by the Wizard and MC around the farm and camping field, and blessed the field and crops and the caravans,

The Burning of the Wicker man was meant to single the end of the evening but most people had had enough of the now quiet heavy rain and this was cancelled, returning instead to the dry barn to dance the night away till eleven o clock.

Brenk House Farm
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