A hugely enjoyable Kingsgrove Community Day!

🍎Amazing apple juice🍏, 🚩beautiful bunting🚩, 😀cheerful crowds😁, 🤠fantastic fancy-dress👗, 🐶perfect puppies🐕, 🔶quality quilting🔷, 🎸marvellous music🎤 – what do they all have in common? They were all there at the Kingsgrove Community Day on Saturday 30 September 2023, with a lot more besides!

Entirely new for the third annual Community Day, there were two complementary events: an afternoon community fair in the square and an evening of entertainment and hog roast at the primary school.

Under clouds but thankfully rain-free, the afternoon event was formally opened by the Worshipful the Mayor of Wantage, Councillor Dr Angela Dunford.

Afterwards the mayor turned her attention to the hand-operated apple press. Introduced this year as a way to celebrate the history of the Kingsgrove area, especially the time when there were groves here, growing fruit for King Alfred. With apples kindly donated by restore, a local mental health charity, the first cup of delicious “Kingsgrove” apple juice was created!

Whilst local musicians, Al Jenkins and Howard Hill, were serenading the square the sizable crowd perused over 25 diverse stalls and activities. There was the opportunity to make some “Kingsgrove bunting” from old juice cartons, to admire the fabulously intricate work made by the Ridgeway Quilters and to indulge in food served by the Chequers Inn from Charney Bassett, The Happy Plaice and The Heritage Bakery.

The first Kingsgrove Residents Dog Show (KRufts, anyone?), judged by the mayor, had some very cute entrants into its three classes. All were winners in the eyes of the audience and no one envied the mayor her task!

For those with a fond memory of dressing up as children, it was lovely to watch the children’s fancy dress competition. A wonderful array of costumes was on display and it proved another difficult decision for the mayor, with the winner receiving a £25 voucher, kindly donated by Toy Planet.

There were several activities for the children, including a couple offered by Taylor Wimpey, who invited visitors to build their own dream home using Lego and Duplo. Children could also paint a bird box to take home and put up in their garden.

As the activity in the square was coming to a close, the energy levels were only just ramping up in the school with a “Hog Roast & Music Evening”. Organised by the Wantage Community Church, the school had been especially decorated for the occasion. A range of wonderful food and drink was on offer, with those present being entertained by local band, Studio Six. 

Thanks to everyone that had a part in making the day so wonderful! It was a great success and enjoyed by everyone present, be they mayor, volunteer, stall holder or simply part of the crowd.

If you have ideas about how the event could be made even better for the future and want to help make those ideas a reality, please let us know. We are always looking for volunteers to help out!

Thank you to all the residents, local organisations and everyone involved for their hard work in helping to make this years’ Kingsgrove Community Day a huge success! I’ve enjoyed being part of the team that has organised this event and am fortunate to be working alongside such amazing people who gave their valuable time and exceptional talents to help the day run smoothly.

Highlights for me include making fresh apple juice with the press, seeing kids and adults alike getting actively involved with stall holders and saying hello to new and familiar faces who came along to support the event.  

I had positive feedback from many on the day so I think we can all be very proud of what was achieved – thank you again! 

Part of my role is to help bring together local people – like those living here who get involved in the community – but also local groups and organisations and your local councils. Together, we are building a strong community. If you have ideas to share or want to get involved, please get in touch. 

Anne Richardson, your community development officer, at the Vale of White Horse District Council

Finally, on a personal note, I want to say a HUGE “Thank you!” to everyone that helped plan the event, to everyone that helped set up on the day (no small feat), to all the stallholders that came, to the wonderful caterers, to the magnificent musicians and to everyone that came along on the day.

More photos here

Photos: John Brown