Audiences were treated to the authentic historic festivities of the annual Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre from the warmth of their homes when it was held online for the first time.
The popular south Shropshire celebration broke with tradition to take place on digital platforms due to COVID-19 but families could still enjoy the entertainment with a mix of live performances, pre-recorded shows and a host of fun competitions.
Online audience members logged on last weekend (Nov 28-29) from around the world, including fans in the USA and Europe who wanted to be part of the celebrations.
Now organisers are calling on fans of the annual event, which sees Ludlow Castle host an immersive Middle Ages spectacle, to donate to ensure the Fayre can return in better times, hopefully in its usual live format in November 2021.
For more than 20 years the annual weekend of activities and performances has attracted up to 18,000 visitors to begin their Christmas countdown with live fun and hearty food.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 Fayre went ahead to provide Fayre lovers with their usual favourites but took place “virtually” on www.ludlowmedievalchristmas.co.uk.
The live highlights included the battle between chivalric heroes in the popular Tournament of Knights, along with a reading from Ludlow author Marianne Rosen, who has launched her debut novel The Doors of Riverdell.
Mother and daughter team Prue and Abi Dakin, who run Shropshire-based independent company Dakin Events, organised the Fayre.
Supported by leading local businesses and regular performers, they were determined to deliver the Fayre online after a challenging year to ensure families could continue to enjoy one of south Shropshire’s biggest annual gatherings in the countdown to Christmas.
Most of the Fayre was delivered free of charge so organisers hope supporters will donate to help Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre shape a new future.
Abi said: “We have had fantastic feedback from those who watched online, with some very supportive comments from people who appreciated our commitment to deliver the Fayre after such a difficult year.
“We had people joining us from the US and Europe. One couple who come every year sent us a photo of themselves sitting on their sofa drinking mulled wine and enjoying the performances, which was wonderful to see.
“The exhibitors were excellent and really got into the spirit of recreating their usual live presentations through the website. We were incredibly grateful for the support of all our partners and everyone who helped bring it together.
“We were determined not to cancel and would appreciate it if everyone who enjoys the Fayre can support us and donate to keep the event going for the future. All support would be very much appreciated in these tough times for the live events industry.”
All donations go directly to supporting the Fayre and everyone who donates will be entered into a competition to win a personalised family history parchment. To find out more, go to: https://www.ludlowmedievalchristmas.co.uk/support-us
The audiences who logged on to the digital presentation were able to enjoy pre-recorded theatre, music, comedy and storytelling, along with workshop activities, behind the scenes tours, demonstrations and more.
The fun has not ended as highlights of the weekend will be uploaded to the website and social media channels for Fayre lovers to enjoy.
And open until Christmas Day is the Fayre online marketplace, where visitors will find exhibitors selling Christmas gifts and treats, along with a host of interviews and “how to guides” to get ready for the festive season.