On Saturday, I ventured into town for the Burgess Hill Fairtrade Fair. The event was being held in the Martlets hall.
Now for me, I associate the word 'fairtrade' with cocoa beans, and of course, cocoa beans make chocolate. So at a Fairtrade fair, I was expecting to sample many baked goods, sadly, this was not to be the case. There was one table with some chocolate and wine on it, but no baked good in sight. If I was an exhibitor, I'd have shown what lovely chocolate brownies can be made using Fairtrade ingredients. I'd have showcased my three varieties of cakey, chewy and fudgey brownies. It could have been a real money spinner for someone.
The lack of cakes really was a disappointment, I really didn't care for the jewellery, beads, fabric and other things that only women or effeminate men would like.
When I was in the main hall, there were only two other men looking round, they were old and probably dragged along by their wives. I think the partners of the other women looking around were outside the building, probably looking at the market stall that claims to let you have satellite tv on your computer without a subscription.
I spent a grand total of 4 minutes in the hall before fleeing back to the foyer where tea and coffee were being sold. Also available were a few baked goods!!! These cakes claimed to have been made with Fairtrade ingredients, you had to pay for them though. I really was tempted to purchase a cake, there were some nicely designed boards advertising the coffee morning, but there were no prices listed. What an error. The thing with baked goods is that they are usually either very cheap or very expensive. I didn't want to have to ask the price as I'd have looked really cheap if I had then balked at paying £2 for a lump of cake. I doubt I was the only one to be put off by the lack of pricing.
All was not lost though, I exited the building, walked 5 metres, turned 90 degrees to my right and purchased 2 bags of sweets for £1 from the HUGE market stall that sell an enormous selection of classic sweets.
I chose some toffee bon bons and the bubble gum flavoured fizzy bottles. I doubt whether any Fairtrade ingredients were used to make these sweets, but the consolation was that they were lovely!
Once back at the Burgess Hill Uncovered offices, I asked my cleaner what she associates with Fairtrade, I was surprised that her answer was 'cotton'. All this time I thought it was primarily about chocolate.
Clearly Burgess Hill needs a new festival, one that showcases the baking talents of the local community. We have Burgess Hill in bloom, we have the Burgess Hill Christmas lights competition, so why not the Burgess Hill Bake-Off? It would be an event that so many people could get involved in. Those without gardens would finally feel 'catered' for (pun intended).
Lets make it happen. If needs must, we'll have a charity benefit from it.