September in Sydney is usually a month of unrelenting fine weather, so if you’re in a really organized school P&C you will plan your school fete for then. If you’re in one of those P&Cs that are taken by surprise by spring, you’ll be having your fete in November, and risk getting it rained on.
On the weekend I attended an excellent example of a public school fete, but one that only really had about an hour’s entertainment for me in it, half of which I spent looking for my son. It got me wondering what I really like in a fete.
The coffee was good, a very important thing in any inner west fete. There was a fairy floss machine that filled the surrounding air with glittering sugar dust, you could have saved your money and just stood beside it inhaling for about ten minutes. The food stalls were really impressive, I got some sushi, some fried rice and some Pad Thai to take home so I wouldn’t have to cook dinner, and they were all fantastic. There was an excellent fresh produce stall all sourced from the school’s kitchen garden, something that should be mandatory in any school with an extra patch of grass.
There was a second had clothes stall with a rather disturbing table full of second hand swimmers. I don’t know about you, but I wear my swimmers until the elastic gives and members of the public start complaining about the transparency of my attire, so there are many odd things about second hand bathers for me. I gave it a wide berth. I always like to look at the second hand books, but this time the stall just made me wonder why all of these books were bought in the first place? I would have had a guess that the parent population of this school were fairly highly educated, yet their tastes seemed to veer towards weight and enormous metallic lettering in choosing literature. I was briefly tempted by a book entitled Teach Yourself Modern Hebrew, but my self improvement list is full up.
The music presented by the student population was pretty good. I was pleased to hear a recorder group playing something mediaeval, accompanied by a keyboard tastefully set to harpsichord. The band played pieces it was possible to recognize. There was an excellent young lady with a very mature voice who accompanied herself on the guitar.
And yet I felt like I was looking for something that wasn’t there. Maybe fetes need to get in some outside stallholders, and not just ones who’ve ordered a pallet load of plastic tat. I want to be able to buy a hippie handbag, or a hand knitted vest, or, ideally, a pair of chenille shorts. Or maybe I should just accept that they’re not markets, they’re a fundraiser for the kiddies and I should go buy a handful of tickets to the chocolate wheel. Perhaps I’ll win a pair of chenille shorts.