The decision has been taken by the committee after the event failed to generate enough income for the charities in recent years and an increase in other local free events has lessened visitor numbers.
The Country Fayre was started in August 1993 as a small fundraiser to help keep the small local primary school open and to educate the public about agriculture. The 1st Country Fayre featured a car boot, craft stalls, BBQ and also had baby calves on display plus a milking demonstration. It was very successful and raised £700 for school funds. Because of it’s success another was held the following year, again it doubled the amount raised and kept increasing throughout the following years.
As the event grew quickly in popularity, other charities were asked to be involved as the event is organised and run entirely by volunteers, not only on the day but through the entire year and the event has remained like this until now.
Due to the great British summer weather for a number of consecutive years, attendee numbers started to dwindle, resulting in the committee moving more of the event indoors, increasing the cost of marquees and other infrastructure required.
Other efforts were attempted to increase visitor numbers to cover the increased costs, including adding a beer and music evening called ‘Welly Fest’ and a comedy and variety night called ‘The Big Tent Event’ whilst the ‘Country Fayre’ remained on the Monday. The decision was taken to rebrand to include the three events and ‘Triplefest’ born, but a couple of years later they felt this reflected only the music side of the event and had lost the focus of educating the public with agriculture and raising money for charity.
In 2015, the event was under the new name of the ‘Heaton House BIG Weekend’ and despite an increased marketing budget and effort to improve the event and facilities to attendees, numbers were still reduced, and the event lost a considerable amount of money for the second year running. After the event, it was discovered that a number of free events in the local towns and city centres took place.
Despite the result over the past few years, the committee are thrilled to announce that the charity event has raised over £200,000 for various charities, including Cancer Research UK, Midlands Air Ambulance, Donna Louise Trust, East Cheshire Hospice Rushton Home School Association, Alder Hey Children’s Hospice and NSPCC, amongst many others. They are also proud to inform you that the local village school is still open and now thriving.
Committee member, Sarah Heath said: “After 22 years of memories it has been a difficult decision that we deeply regret having to take.
“We are so proud of what the event has achieved, and this would not have been possible without the small committee who work tirelessly throughout the year, as well as the hundreds of volunteers who dedicate their time to help over the weekend.
“Over the past few years more time and money has been invested in the event, but the predicted results have not prevailed. The biggest disappointment is the fact that we have not made money for the charities, which is the main aim of the event.
“We cannot thank our supporters enough, who travel the length and breadth of the country to enjoy the event. Whilst walking around the event site, it was like being surrounded by family as some people had attended all of the years, either as attendees or volunteers.”