NELSON the elephant has become a popular feature on Bishops Castle’s annual Michaelmas Fair and he is back at this year’s event this Saturday, September 23...but this time with an additional surprise baby elephant too.
The 10 foot high model elephant who looks so realistic that people think he is alive returns with a team of six well trained people to manipulate Nelson's legs, body and trunk.
But this year he will be resting more, moving less and keeping an eye on his new offspring, “Little Lucy”.
Little Lucy has been made by Bamber Hawes, the same artist who made Nelson in 2015 and she will be playing an active part in the proceedings.
Lucy is much smaller than her father, six feet tall and made of plywood, bamboo, willow and canvas. This construction means she is lighter and more manoeuvrable than her father and now Bamber is asking for volunteers to join him in bringing Lucy to life.
“Little Lucy has a kind of pantomime horse construction, so we need people to help her to walk. Please give me a call on 01588 638111 if you want to join in,” said Bamber.
If you are wondering how the new elephant got her name Bamber added: “Little Lucy was the name of Nelson's first ship, which he commanded at the tender age of 19.”
Preparations for this Saturday’s big event have been going on in the town all week with flags and banner going up.
Last Sunday, many took part in a lantern making workshop at the Church Barn is readiness for another big part of the Michaelmas Fair, the annual Lantern Parade up and down the main street taking place at 7.30pm.
In addition this year, Chinatown comes to Bishops Castle with a lion and Chinese dragon.
Special visitors from the Liverpool Hung Gar Kung Fu School will bring their spectacular red and gold lion and dragon to head up all three of the processions, at 12.30, 5 and 7.30pm.
The troupe will also take time to visit the residents at Stone House at 2pm and give a special display outside the King's Head at 3pm.
Vintage vehicles, dancers, and street entertainers will all again be part of the day with parades and displays and this year there is also a ‘Bee’ theme to some of the attractions.
The Old Market Square at the top of the town will be transformed into a 'bee hive' for the Michaelmas Fair, with a variety of bee-related activities and attractions.
Montgomery Beekeepers Association have a glass sided observation and brood box on show, together with an eye catching bee tapestry on loan from the Welsh Botanic Garden. Natural England and local ecology groups will run bee themed art and crafts workshops, while the Friends of the Earth will be promoting their 'Bee Cause' to help reverse the decline of bees in the UK.
You can also have a go at rolling your own beeswax candle and buy some local Shropshire honey.
A spokesman for Shropshire Wildlife Trust said: “Bees and other pollinators are really struggling because of the loss of flower-rich grasslands and the use of harmful pesticides. Bishops Castle Town Council, in partnership with Shropshire Wildlife Trust, has established a number of floral Bee Cafés outside the Town Hall as a place for bees to feed.
“We hope that the 'bee hive' at the fair will help spread the word about the vital importance of bees to our world.”
As well as the bee hive, look out for the bees waggle dance at 3.30pm and the bee shaped lanterns in the procession.
Being Bishops Castle, of course there will be all kinds of music on the day with performances from Fight the Bear, The Nuclear Weasels, The Mighty Vipers, Paprika Blues Band, The Conspiritualists, Bablefish, Knighton Town Silver Band, The Singing Florist, Bishops Castle Orchestra, Tradewinds Shindy, The Men From Off, Bishops Castle Community Band, Castle Voices, and The Bishops Castle AMP (About Music Project).
It only costs £5 to enjoy all the fun of the fair, with children allowed free. Your contribution goes towards putting on what is the town's biggest event and as well as taking part in all the activities.
Your £5 also includes a free raffle ticket. The top prize is a paragliding trip with local high fliers Mark and Sian Leavesley from Leavesley Aviation. Second prize is a meal at the Castle Hotel and third prize a free MOT test at Price's Garage in Lydham.
Some special surprises and lots more are also promised and for more information visit facebook www.michaelmasfair.co.uk or call 01588 638159.
See full story in the County Times