Another weekend and yet another event to keep me occupied, this time in the shape of the Walthamstow Village Festival. According to the festival website, this was a regular event but for reasons not stated the last one took place in 2000. The newly reborn festival was organised by the the Asian Centre on Orford Road with an aim to bring the community together. Not wanting to miss out on anything, I’ll basically go to the opening of match box if it’s happening to close to home, we headed up to Orford Road to join the Village people and see what the festival was all about.
The festival was bigger than I expected, a couple of roads, were closed off so it pretty much took over the centre of the Village. It stretched from the Queens Arms up to the ancient house, and looped back down to the playground on Vestry Road. Stewards were posted at each entrance to the event making sure that cars didn’t try and sneak down the closed roads. Orford Road was lined with a variety of stalls, happily many of them were selling food. I seem to spend a large proportion of my time thinking about what I’m going to eat and when I’m going to eat it, so having a choice is always a good thing. having said that, the choice of food presented us with a dilemma. At the top of Summit Road, a few of the food sellers we often use were set up next to each other. Which one should we use? would one mind if we choose the other? In reality the sellers were all to busy to worry about that, but it did put us in to a bit of a loyalty based tiswas.
We agonised over our food choice, should we get chips with dips? or Bestowed Kitchen? perhaps some Polish food from Bun On The Run or something spicy from Shams Kitchen? It was too much to take so we popped down to Wildcard Brewery for a beer and think. As we sat enjoying our pint of Queen of Diamonds the one thing we could agree on was that we are pretty lucky, lucky to have so many local independent food providers to choose from. In the end, our inability to decide paid off as we got food from a couple of the stalls and spent the afternoon grazing on foodie goodness.
The festival got pretty packed, a combination of adults, kids and dogs meandered around the street. There was live music on the stage in the playground, and much to my delight, East London Brass set up and played outside the Queens Arms. I’m a bit of a fan of brass band music, there was a band competition at the carnival in the village I grew up in which I think fueled my love of this kind of music. Annoyingly we only caught the end of their set, mainly because I had been dilly dallying on the way down the road. What we did hear took me right back to my younger days listening to the bands playing on the rec on carnival day.
I think the only unhappy face I saw all day was a small boy who spotted the giant foam police man, and ran back to his mum screaming. I expect I would have done the same at his age, I’ve always found these giant costume characters a little bit disturbing with their ever waving hands, silent faces and empty eyes. The small boy soon calmed down when he spotted our much smaller dog, the boy smiled, the dog wagged his tail and calm was restored to Orford Road.
We eventually ended up in the beer garden of the Queens arms with a pint of something I don’t remember the name of but enjoyed all the same. Music from the stage was mingling with the sound of people outside, filling the air with a gentle buzz. The festival seemed to have the right mix, it was just the right level of busy, a good variety of stalls, and even the sun stayed out for the day. I’m not sure why this event stopped before, but now it’s back, I hope it stays.