The Henfield Festival of Gardens and Arts takes place this weekend, Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th June. For these two days the village becomes a focal appointment for people who love gardening, people who appreciate the crafts people in the locality and many talented musicians who perform their work in the garden settings. Not to mention those of us who like to sit with a cup of tea and a slice of cake in a garden appreciating the hard work of others!
The Festival of Gardens and Arts started as an idea to celebrate the Millennium and we are now in our eighteenth year. Over the years, the whole event has been organised by a committee made up of volunteers who spend many hours behind the scenes liaising with the venues, crafts people and musicians. The event has grown since its inception but its ethos remains the same: to celebrate the Arts in their widest sense in the wonderful garden settings and also to raise money for our local community charities though donations from the visiting public. We are generously supported from the commission given on arts and crafts sales and by sponsors, without whom we couldn’t fund the blue leaflet that guides our visitors around the village.
The blue leaflet is available in many locations in Henfield as well as at some of the larger venues in the local area. We also now have a website detailing all the events and venues. The leaflet has a map to guide you, lots of information about the events, arts and places to get a cup of tea and have a sit down. Our website can be found at www.henfieldgardensandarts.net/
As well as the small gardens scattered through the village, there are larger indoor and outdoor venues around the High Street such as the Henfield Hall. We have two car parks in the centre of the village and many of the venues have street parking near to them. Henfield has many twittens between the streets which provide good routes for walkers and cyclists will enjoy our quiet streets when visiting venues.
It’s impossible to highlight just one of the many gardens, venues, artists and musicians out of the leaflet and it is indeed a challenge to visit them all in one day let alone two, but from the repeat visitors that we have every year we must be doing something right and many people have their own favourites.
The event is primarily a community event but it does have a charitable side to it. The committee choose a new charity or several charities every year. Any local charity can put themselves forward for consideration and we welcome suggestions for causes to support. We don’t ask for an entrance fee to the festival but we do suggest that visitors make a donation at one or two of the venue that they visit. This year we are supporting three charities: Warren Playgroup, The Henfield Library and The Youth Club and we hope that our visitors will donate generously so that we can support these worthy causes.
The committee also invites the local shops to have an Open Gardens theme to their window display in the week prior to the weekend. The windows are judged and we award certificates so this is something else to look out for. If you’re in the High Street over the weekend take time to have a look and see if you agree with the judge’s choice.
As usual, whilst we all hope for the best weather it’s just about the only thing we can’t control. However, whatever the weather the number of indoor and outdoor venues is just too good to miss. The committee hope you will join us for the weekend of events. We start at 11am on Saturday morning and finish with a musical finale for all at Red Oaks on Sunday 11th June at 5pm where you will find many garden openers and visitors enjoying the music, food and a well-earned drink.
Remember to pick up your Blue Guide, on Saturday morning they will be available outside Jeremy’s on Park Road.
Images by Clive Funnell and Elizabeth Taylor