Saturday, 13 September 2014
Broncos, Belfries and Mr Punch: Hurst Festival Village Open Day
Today was the first day of Hurst Festival, an annual event held every September in the Sussex village of Hurstpierpoint.
Now in its tenth year, the first event of the festival was the Village Open Day, which promised lots of events, attractions and performances in various public spaces around the village.
So, clutching my event guide and the leaflet handed to me when I reached the village, I went to explore and see what was on offer!
After wandering around for a while (and gaining a free bag of apples from a man near the church, thank you that man!) I went somewhere that I've been curious about before: the belfry!
The access is through a tiny door tucked around the side of the tower - I wouldn't have known it was there if it hadn't been pointed out to me!
And then, up a narrow, tight spiral staircase...
This is the view looking down the staircase. I walked up (and down) it holding my breath! This is probably the narrowest spiral staircase I've ever seen!
A group of bellringers were in the room at the top of the stairs giving demonstrations and talking about the bells. The room was packed so it was difficult to take pictures, but I snapped this one of the ropes. The one in the middle is for newbies to practise on ;)
Next, I headed back to the Village Garden, where a Bucking Bronco had been set up! I'd already seen lots of kids having fun with it, but since they were being enchanted by the wicked Mr Punch, I took the opportunity to have a go :)
One of the guys running the bronco kindly took some pictures for me, so you get to see all the silly faces I pulled whilst trying not to fall off!
Riding a mechanical bull is one of the goals on The List, so I can now cross that one off as complete!
Moments before falling off! Not sure how long I managed to stay on this - only about a minute, I think! Once the bronco starts really bucking, it's much harder to stay on!
As well as events in the Village Garden, many of the local shops had events and offers too. It's great to see the whole village getting involved in an event!
There were circus performers wandering up and down the High Street, and the open day also included a "Treasured Transport Parade", which you can read about here.
Overall it was a good way to spend part of the day, with plenty of things to appeal to all ages. I'll be checking out other events in the Hurst Festival program over the course of the next two weeks, including an exhibition of John Vernon Lord's work and a Willow Workshop!
With these events and much more on offer between now and 27th September, this Sussex village shows that it is far from sleepy.