The enormously successful Henfield Festival of Garden and Arts, which this year takes place over the weekend of 8 – 9 June 2019, is now in its 20th year.
The Festival originally started as a dancing competition in the 1970’s and local residents began opening their gardens as an added attraction. The dance element died away but the garden openings proved so popular that the Festival was reborn as the Henfield Festival of Gardens & Arts. The Festival has been delighting and entertaining ever since with artistic, musical and horticultural pleasures and this year is featured as one of the main events of the Horsham year of Culture 2019.
Ranging from large lawns with herbaceous borders to small terraces with patio pots, from traditional planting to more contemporary designs, and from ponds to vegetable plots there will be a wide variety of interesting gardens on show. The owners are usually more than happy to discuss their gardens and it’s a fantastic opportunity to find horticultural inspiration. Entry to all venues is free of charge, but many owners use the opportunity to collect for charities. Donations are entirely voluntary but we hope you will be as generous as last year when an amazing £9,000 was raised for local and national charities.
Art and craft in all its varied forms will be on display and for sale in various gardens as well as community venues such as St Peter’s Church, the Henfield Hall, the Henfield Club, and Red Oaks. Mediums on show will include watercolours, acrylics, drawings, jewellery, photography, sculpture, textiles (such as crochet, patchwork and quilting), mosaics and glass-work.
Live music is a large part of the festival and this year is no exception with a wide variety of talented musicians and vocalists performing in gardens and community venues. Many musical genres will be featured including classical, soul, funk, disco, jazz, folk, blues, bluegrass and country – something for everyone! Other entertainment will include Morris Dancing, Bollywood Dancing workshops and for our canine friends, a dog show.
Always a highlight of the Festival is the delicious homemade food and drink offered by a number of gardens and community venues. Visitors will be able to sit back and enjoy their surroundings, listen to music and appreciate art whilst tucking into tasty lunches, cakes, snacks and afternoon teas.
As an added attraction and to celebrate our 20th year, the Gardens and Arts Committee is this year hosting a Flower Festival at St Peter’s Church over the whole weekend. The very considerable flower arranging talent of the village will combine to fill the Church with colour and scent, offering a stunning visual display. The flower arrangements will be provided by the Ladies from Ladybirds, Wild Violets, Henfield & Woodmancote WI, The Flower Club, The Church Ladies, The Garden Club and Woodmancote Church. To complement the displays, Rushfields Garden Centre are very generously providing plants, and The Art Club will be displaying their artwork. The Henfield Shed, who made the display outside Jeremy’s, will also be exhibiting.
This year, the Festival finale will be celebrated in the Henfield Hall, featuring the fabulous Jonny Hepbir Quintet playing gypsy jazz, with food and dancing into the evening.
The Festival of Gardens and Arts guide (the ‘Blue Book’) provides suggested routes to the venues and gardens to assist those not so familiar with the footpaths and twittens of Henfield. This includes pushchair and wheelchair-friendly routes, where to find the exhibitors, the music and the food and there is also guidance about bringing your dog into venues. The new website www.gardensandarts.net has all the latest news and the content can be downloaded. The booklets are available at local retailers, the Library, Rushfields Garden Centre and other outlets. Village car parking charges will be suspended by Horsham District Council for the duration of the weekend giving all visitors free parking.
The Garden and Arts Festival and the Flower Festival are only made possible due to the generosity of our Sponsors and the Committee would like to thank all of them for their continued support and generosity. Thanks also to everyone who opens their gardens and participates.
We welcome you all to come and enjoy the fun!
Liz Taylor, on behalf of the Gardens & Arts Committee
For more information and an up to date map and schedule please go to the Henfield Gardens and Arts Festival website. Please note, there have been some corrections to the printed Blue Guide currently in circulation.