Epping Forest Pipe Band at the Abridge Festival

Epping Forest Pipe Band at the Abridge Festival

I had been sent out by the Saint Francis Hospice to take a picture of the participants in a human ostrich race. It turned out to be five fun-loving guys racing each other while dressed up as ostriches, in order to raise money for the hospice.  The appointment was at the organiser’s home prior to the race, so we took some shots in the garden with greenery as a nice, clean background.

Honorary Sergeant Charlie with his 1954 Volseley Six Eighty

Honorary Sergeant Charlie's 1954 Volseley Six Eighty

After the pictures were “in the bag”, Kate told me about the village festival with a parade, carnival floats, bag pipes, human ostrich races, food, and everything else that a good village festival must have. This year was the 25th anniversary of this annual event. So I decided to hang around a bit and snap a few pictures.

What a great day! As the parade made its way through the village, it quickly became clear that this was not your typical village fete. No, here in Abridge, people actually cared and participated. There were spectators all along the route, and the people in the parade will collection buckets were busy collecting for various good causes.  The fun atmosphere and the spirit was very catching, and I thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Girl posing as a character from Thriller

From the RIP, Michael Jackson / Thriller float

At the village green, I met Charlie with his beautifully cared for 1954 Volseley Six Eighty police car. Charlie happily posed for a picture while explaining that he had been made an honorary sergeant in the Essex Police, and that the flashing blue lights in the back of his car still works.

Next to him, the Majorettes were lining up for pictures by their parents, and kindly agreed to also let me snap a quick shot. They looked gorgeous in their bright coloured outfits.

Music during the parade was catered for by the Epping Forest Piper Band (despite asking one of the pipers, I still don’t quite get the relationship between Scotland and Epping Forest) and by the Air Training Corps. Both impressed with a really professional show!

Another very colourful part of the parade was the Paris Hilton look-alikes. Well, I don’t know if that’s what they called themselves, but in their bright dresses with well groomed toy dogs reminded me of the socialite, so the name seemed fitting.

In between the marching bands were the many beautiful floats. One was dedicated to Michael Jackson, with dancers re-enacting Thriller. One was The Flintstones. One for the village’s pre-schoolers. One for their teenagers. Several just for the fun of being in a float. It was buzzing with energy, and it reinforced that this was a fun day for the entire village.

Human Ostrich Race

Human Ostrich Race

The parade ended at the village hall where there were stalls, food, face painting, ice skating (yes!), drinks, souvenirs, rides, bouncy castles and everything else that a genuine fun day needs. And the five brave guys from earlier finally got to run their ostrich race.

All in all, it was a marvellous day out, and I alread look forward to next year. I’ll be there, even if there’s no ostrichs in sight!

There is a slideshow with more (and larger) pictures from Abridge here.