Country Living are celebrating another highly successful Spring Fair – the show which heralds the arrival of Spring and offers visitors a fantastic way to embrace the new season. Over four sunny days in March, Alexandra Palace was transformed into a blossom-filled destination for visitors looking for innovative ways to bring country style into their homes and gardens, and a great way to spend a spring day.
The 2019 event saw over 350 independent, artisan makers and small companies selling their products, with everything from hand-made jewellery and fashion to homewares and original art.
‘This year’s Spring Fair has been one of our best ever: the sun shone, the lambs gambolled and we had a fantastic line-up of exhibitors, speakers and makers! We are so proud to provide a showcase for these amazing small businesses and talented craftspeople.’ Susy Smith, Editor In Chief, Country Living
Popular features included the highly sought-after Country Living Pop-Up Market – where talented CL readers are hand-picked by the CL Features team and given the opportunity to exhibit for free. Visitors have the chance to see products that truly are new to the market – this year’s selection included peg dolls, hand-loom weaving, original art, and stylish knitted tea-cosies. The small businesses featured included Dobbie & Rose, Peggie Belle, and seeded cards from Rae Goddard.
As part of Country Living’s on-going initiative to nurture new design talent, two stunning stands showcased the CL One Year On prize-winners discovered at the New Designers Show 2018 and picked out as outstanding talents of the future. Alexander Hay hand-makes beautiful furniture, and Alice Funge produces quirky and beautiful ceramics.
There were delicious foodie treats in abundance in the Country Living Larder where some of Britain’s best artisan producers were selling delicious cheeses, local meats, honey, chutneys, and irresistible chocolate brownies.
One of the highlights of the Fair was undoubtedly the new-born lambs, brought to the show by Kirkwood Real Farm Holidays. Only a few days old, visitors had the chance to name the lambs, with a prize of tickets to the next Country Living Fair. (There is still time to enter as the competition runs until 30 April!). The brood of rare-breed chickens were also a real show-stopper – they were brought to the show by CL columnist Sara Ward from Hen Corner. Sara also shared her expertise in several talks on Bees in the City and Keeping Chickens in London.
Susy Smith and the CL team picked out two companies as stand-out exhibitors truly reflecting the CL ethos. New to the Fair were Vincent Trading, hand-crafting reclaimed and sustainably sourced wood into furniture and accessories and Madder Cutch & Co who produce beautifully designed hand-printed fabrics from their studio in Stamford. The companies won the Best Stand Design and Editor’s Choice awards respectively, with prizes of a free stand at next year’s event.
Beyond shopping, the Spring Fair had much more for visitors to do, this year with 5 live stages and three interactive workshops offering a daily programme of talks and events. The CL Kitchen sponsored by Stoves had demonstrations hosted by Marie-Clare James with delicious inspiration on subjects such as Heavenly Hot Cross Buns with Sara Ward and How to make the best brownies ever with Kate Jenkins of Gower Cottage Brownies.
Highlights on the CL Stage included the Top Tips for Small Businesses panel hosted by CL Features Editor Anna Jury, Ben Kendrick, CL’s Home & Style Editor on his favourite design looks and How to Use Instagram for your business with photographer Lucy Heath of Capture by Lucy. Meanwhile in the Good Life Theatre visitors picked up tips on bee and hen keeping, and others got their hands dirty with hands-on demonstrations in the Potting Shed.
Each day over 100 visitors took part in interactive workshops and masterclasses, covering subjects ranging from felting and weaving Easter baskets, to yoga, social media, and massage for dogs!
Throughout the day, visitors were entertained by live music, relaxed over fizz in the Champagne Bar sponsored by Viking Cruises, and enjoyed Afternoon Tea served in the Tea Room sponsored by Daelmans stroopwafels.
After this successful Spring Fair, the Country Living Christmas Fairs will be taking place later in the year when they return to London, Glasgow and Harrogate – make a note of the dates so you are ready for three amazing Christmas shopping experiences