Wantage Town Centre Manager Andrea Yates takes a look at some of the things to tempt you into Wantage in July – in addition, of course, to the wide range of independent cafés, pubs, restaurants and shops that will shortly be returning to something approaching normal life.
Wantage Community Larder
The Wantage Community Larder has been set up to reduce food waste, create a community hub and provide support and advice where needed. As a member, you can access surplus food on a larger scale, and longer dated, than at a community fridge. You can join as an Individual for a weekly subscription of £3.50 and get up to 10 non-perishable items and up to four items of fruit and vegetables; or as a Family for a weekly subscription of £7, getting to 20 non-perishable items and up to eight items of fruit and vegetables. There is also a joining fee of £10. For more information, visit the website.
We held three successful Local Artisan Markets in May, June and July. The weather certainly tested us, as it does any outdoor event in this country, but our local traders weren’t deterred by a bit of rain and neither were the shoppers. The products on offer ranged from fudge to mead and from jewellery to soap. We’re always looking to find some new and different traders – a local beekeeper comes to the markets and in July a local wood turner joined us selling beautiful hand-crafted bowls amongst other products. We hope to be adding some street-food stalls when regulations permit.
“It’s great that Wantage is putting on these lovely markets,” one visitor remarked at the July event. “The produce is excellent and varied, the stall holders are friendly and happy to chat about their passion for their products. The atmosphere is warm as people are happy to be finally out and about. I’m excited to see how it grows once the restrictions have been fully lifted.”
For another visitor, who happened to be staying in The Bear while house hunting in the area, the market convinced them that Wantage was the place they were going to move to. “I loved the opportunity to support local people and their creativity. What a fantastic array of furniture, food and gorgeous, unique items for sale. It’s clear from the people on the stalls and what they had for sale that so much time, love and energy goes into what they create. We can’t wait to be part of such a fabulous community.” She was also kind enough to say that I was “a wonderful advocate for the town.” Well, I do my best…
As both these visitors recognised, Wantage is very fortunate to have so many talented craftspeople (as well as a market square in which their wares can be displayed). We would love to see you at our next market on Sunday 1 August from 10am to 3pm in the Market Place. There will be music from the Mocktails and our local cafés, bars and restaurants are open to ensure you won’t go hungry or thirsty. For more information, see the Wantage Markets FB page.
Wantage Summer Arts Festival
Despite considerable hurdles, our month-long Festival of local art and music from July 1 to 31 has gone ahead with over 40 events from art exhibitions to a wide range of music. The festival programme was delivered to every home in Wantage (as was a list of organisations which local residents, especially newcomers, can join.)
Highlights of the Festival so far have included a sea shanty evening outside Marmalade/30Something, a concert of East European music at Holy Trinity Church, Charlton and a Picnic Opera event in the garden of Church House, Wantage.
Events still to come are the Festival Film Night on the 23 July at Wildwood Wantage and the Festival Caribbean Evening on the 24 July at the Comrades Club, Wantage.
“Despite the limitations of Covid restrictions, we were determined to go ahead and keep this important event going in our town’s calendar,” the Festival’s Artistic Director Jim Mitchell said. “Next year will be bigger and better than ever and will also include the return of the Wantage Literary Festival and the Town Carnival.”