Fêtes are extremely enjoyable events often used to raise money for good causes, pay for essential repairs to churches or cover the cost of direct action against badger culls, fracking and James Brokenshire.
Traditional village fêtes include a variety of games, entertainment and stalls, such as coconut shies, bowling for a wig, yokel trumping and grave rubbing – all of which are great fun and foster a real sense of community, apart from the family feuds which can erupt for no apparent reason and thereafter last for centuries.
Domestic skills also flourish, with competitions to find the best cakes, jams and home-grown produce, and much of this can be slipped into a large bag while no-one is looking, to be consumed or sold at a later time.
Contests of strength and athleticism continue to be popular, with greatly coveted trophies awarded for events such as tug-of-war, lassoing the bell ringer and verger stretching.
Urban fêtes and those for arts and crafts societies tend to be more refined and it is rare for the police or fire brigade to be called until two or three hours have elapsed. These are also more likely to be opened by a well-known local celebrity, or if one can’t be found, Christopher Biggins.
Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos are the names of the three fêtes celebrated by the classics faculty of Keys (pronounced Caius) College in Cambridge.