Wensum, by Jim Harding, August 30, 2016

fakenham flower fest
fakenham flower fest
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There have been buskers in Fakenham on market days for very many years now. Their music is usually heard on Bridge Street and, of course, the market square itself.

Just occasionally a small group will entertain the troops at the end of Miller’s Walk. As a minor attraction and distraction on the day itself, I’m all for these travelling troubadours who may well be extending entertainment familiar to townsfolk from centuries back. The quality of the music is admittedly variable. And these days it’s quite usual for a soloist, if he or she is a singer, to have a back-up rhythm section accompaniment. What I have found particularly appealing over these summer months is the brilliance of some of the regular guitarists. Whether acoustic or electric, these guys can really perform and it’s lovely to see passers-by stopped in their tracks to listen.

Happily, our town council, which runs the charter market, welcomes the presence of buskers whilst laying down certain rules of conduct. Such as not soliciting for contributions – which might be construed as begging – and not playing so loudly as to be a nuisance. One young busker I spoke to said he just loved coming to Fakenham from Norwich on a fairly regular basis because everyone was so friendly and it was a pleasure to play. He was good enough to be snapped up by the organisers of our monthly Makers Market in the parish church and is often to be heard playing his guitar there. Long may the wandering minstrels continue to find their way to our town on Thursday mornings and their talents be rewarded.

As for the market itself, changes have been afoot since work got under way three months back to rebuild the former Aldiss store which burnt down in May 2014. Some marketeers on Upper Market Place have had to shift, most notably Seekings fruit and vegetable stall which used to dominate that area. Their new – if temporary – home now occupies the roadway between Barclays and the cinema and business seems to be thriving just as well there. Elsewhere the re-siting of stalls in cooperation with the council has gone smoothly. The likelihood is that construction work will take until the middle of 2017 so it will be at least until then before things return to normality.

It’s a little way off but I’ve been asked to flag up the next Fakenham Flower Festival in the parish church which runs from October 6 to 10. These biennial events have been

enormously popular in the past and this year’s promises to be right up there with the best.

Inevitably such festivals require months of planning, preparation and support from the local community. Thus far just about every display – 28 in all - has received sponsorship from individuals, couples or businesses. The chosen theme this year is ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’, a hymn familiar to us all from primary school days which will provide much scope for imaginative arrangements.

Opening hours are from 10am to 5pm except on the Sunday when there will be a special festival service at 10.30am. Entrance is free and refreshments available. If you can help with the stewarding you can still add your name to the rota in church.