The Lambeth Country Show is a two day event that brings much of the flavour of a traditional English country show to the heart of south London. Every year in July hundreds of exhibitors descend on Brockwell Park, between Brixton and Herne Hill and show their wares.
The show has its roots in an earlier horticultural show and a separate horse show, but it has taken its current form since 1974. Over 100,000 people visit each year. I've been for the last two years, and had a great time.
There are stalls selling homemade fudges, chocolate, ciders, soaps, chutneys and curry pastes. Woolwear, carved furniture, shoes and all sorts of other trinkets are typically available.
There are exhibits of steam tractors, blacksmith skills, falconry, sheep dogs (herding geese), stunt-motorcycling, parachuting, and a Medieval group showing various ancient crafts and a siege reenactment. Farmers exhibit horses and various rare breeds.
The usual fairground attractions are present and correct, including bumper cars, bouncy castles and all manner of spinning things.
Several music areas play through the days, a Village Green with mainly folk music, and a larger stage with mainly Dub music. A military brass band is also in attendance. My favorite musical feature is the antique fairground organ, which can be seen winding in a punched card and producing jaunty melodies.
A horticultural tent has various prize vegetables, cakes, jams and flower arrangements, all on gingham-covered trestle tables. A beehive and a Bonsai exhibition also feature here.
Food stalls offer German, Caribbean, Oriental and Dutch cuisine. As you'd expect, there are several beer and cider tents, too!
To see these sights surrounded by an inner-city environment is deliciously incongruous. And yet this charming event never seems to get any publicity outside Lambeth. Well, the next show is on the 18th and 19th of July 2009- perhaps you'll give it a look?