An article from the Hampshire Chronicle of 17th July 1992 gave the following report on the “Hampshire Eurofest 1992”, an Alresford event that celebrated the entry of the UK into the EEC, otherwise known as the Common Market:
“Alresford’s historic Broad Street took on a continental air on Sunday as residents turned out in their hundreds to join in the fun of the town’s Eurofest.
Café tables lined the street, residents and visitors alike enjoying lunch or liquid refreshments whilst listening to music.
Local organizations, under the banner of the Chamber of Trade, had joined together to put on a day of fun for everyone to celebrate entry into the single European community.
Festivities began at noon, as the Eurofest was opened by BBC South Today and Radio Solent presenter Sally Taylor, together with colleague Mark Longhurst, who sent up a shower of balloons. Nick Kingsford and Alistair Dilley welcomed the crowds in every one of the languages of the countries of the EEC.
Chamber Chairman, Jan Robb, said the day had been made possible by the efforts of many people. She spoke of a wider European community in which Alresford, an energetic, outward-looking town, was eager to play its part.
She thanked the sponsors and praised traders and businessmen who had taken part, with special mention for Nick Kingsford, David Birmingham, Sue Gentry and Alistair Dilley, who had worked hard since January.
Euro-MP, Edward Kellet-Bowman, there to join in the fun, congratulated everyone on putting on such a good show.
Everyone had entered into the spirit of the event. The Swan Hotel became a Greek taverna; The Bell was offering John Bull Specials, including jellied eels and cockles and mussels, while in Broad Street, the Horse and Groom was an Old English pub with traditional roast beef.
The queue for food at a barbecue laid on in Broad Street by the Old School House Restaurant never seemed to get any shorter, whilst El Pigador’s (Alresford Pigs) offer of “Amazing Tapas” was also popular.
A “bouncy castle” was in the garden at the rear of Hunter’s, where a children’s tea party was held later in the afternoon. Alresford Twinning Association offered crepes, whilst the Rotary Club and the ladies of the Inner Wheel sold Italian ices and enticed all-comers to “be photographed in a gondola”.
Bishop’s Sutton Village Hall Committee offered Dutch fare and the New Alresford WI’s “Eurotunnel” had demonstrations of continental flower arranging, painting, lace and broomstick crochet.
Perin’s School represented Germany, with students offering a five minute German lesson, whilst the Community Association picked Denmark and offered a free draw for two air tickets to Denmark, courtesy of MaerskAir.
There was entertainment throughout the afternoon, with music from Winchester Brass Band, the Chris Walker Quintet and Perin’s School Band, plus Scottish dancing and country dancing from the two Sun Hill schools.
Jugglers Matthew and Dunn featured fire-eating, while the Turn on the Taps Appalachian dancers gave two displays of tap dancing.
Shop window displays featured other countries. The library had a splendid display representing Ireland: Eddolls, the United Kingdom; Portman Building Society, Greece. There were others featuring Portugal, several the UK, whilst Styles China Shop chose Denmark.
In the George Yard there was a display of ten cars from the 1920’s to 1960, put on by the Allsorts Motor Club.”
This cutting from the Hampshire Chronicle is included alongside the set of colour photos taken on the day by Nelson Trowbridge, of South Close, Alresford. These were made into a presentation booklet about the event, created by Nelson, which was later donated to the Alresford Museum. All the photos can be seen on the website www.flickr.com/photos/83468450@N03/sets/72157632786815255.
Included in this 1992 booklet was the following account of “The Story of the Alresford Carnival”, charting its origins, leading up to when the Alresford Rotary Club took over the organisation of the event in 1989:
“The Story of the Alresford Carnival
Although the Parish Council’s Recreation ground in Arlebury Park only dates back to the late 1970’s, the park lands saw the first Carnival in recent years as far back as 1953 when the town put on a celebration on June 2nd, the day of Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation.
Like many things that happen in Alresford, it was organised by a group of like-minded people who wanted the town to join together in a day of family fun, and by all accounts it was a great success. Mrs Rita Blundell of Ropley was the very first Carnival Queen, a position which she held for several years! After the first, and special, celebration, the Carnival moved to what was then known as the Whit-Monday Bank Holiday, and a procession was led from the Station Yard to that part of Arlebury Park now occupied by Mrs Mary Hide’s Caravan Club location. Celebrities sometimes opened the event, including on one occasion Julia Lockwood, the film actress.
A popular event was the Donkey Derby. One year the donkeys failed to materialise, and Miss pring, who kept a small riding school was called upon to supply suitable mounts, at very short notice. Another year, a six foot diameter leather ball was pushed along in the procession – until it ran away down West Street, causing havoc! Luckily no-one was injured, and having been rescued it was used for a game of “push-ball” in the arena. Water seems to have played a large part in the proceedings, with a large tank in which duckings, and ‘Crossing the Line’ initiations were carried out!
The late Mr Geoffrey Cradduck was the “human dynamo” whose enthusiasm kept the event going for several years, but like many other events organised by a small number of people it became difficult to sustain. After the present Arlebury Park land had been purchased by the Parish Council, the Arlebury Park Association decided to revive the Carnival using the new ground for entertainment following on from the procession. They too found it difficult to organize an annual event with a shrinking committee, and invited the newly chartered Rotary Club to take it over in 1989. This year  will be the fourth run by the club and we are determined that it will not meet the same fate as its predecessors.
Although it raises a considerable amount for our charity funds, the Club see the Carnival as a service to the town and surrounding villages, and hope that other organisations may wish to become involved in the organisation of the Carnival, as well as participating on the day.”
Alresford Carnival photographs
The Alresford Museum has several sets of photographs relating to the early Alresford Carnivals: these are visible on the Museum website, www.museum.Alresford.org. These photos show the large leather football quoted above, and several water features! There is also a cine film from the 1950s, which we hope to be able to load onto the website soon.
Later Carnival pictures, including those taken by Nelson Trowbridge, are available as FlickR web-albums:
If you have other pictures taken at Alresford events, like the Carnivals, why not let us copy them and show them via our stories and websites? Maybe you can also add a story to describe the photos? Please contact us via this website, or via the Museum Committee of the New Alresford Town Trustees, at firstname.lastname@example.org.