On June 4th following many a sleepless night after months of planning, the first Potato Pants Festival was held in East Dorset. It took place at a small community farm called High Mead Farm and all profits were to be split equally between the farm and HSP. The farm provides opportunities for people with learning and physical disabilities, mental health issues and for disengaged youngsters.
We kicked off at 10am with the first of eight musical acts. There was at least a 30 minute interval between each musical performance and this time was used for people to get involved in the potato pants races. Several pairs of special trousers had previously been made that could easily be worn on top of clothing. Ten kilograms of potatoes were inserted within these trousers and many people took part in races. The idea of this of course, was to give members of the public an idea of what it may be like to have early stage HSP. It was amazing how people loved taking part in this activity, which can be clearly seen by the expressions on faces in the photo on the front. The Wimborne town crier started all the races and continually reminded people why they were doing such a crazy activity.
There were various food stands and a bar that was supplied by Wimborne’s Eight Arch Brewing Co. The children were kept entertained by a bouncy castle, coconut shy, crockery smash, face painting, not to mention the various farm animals and wheelbarrow races. Terry Duffy had a stall selling his wood carvings and all proceeds went to HSP. We borrowed a golf buggy from a local golf course and this was available to anybody struggling with mobility. The music and merriment continued until 11pm. We were very lucky to have Rachel Stroud performing in the afternoon, Rachel was a contestant on The Voice and she got as far as the knock-out stages. The entertainment concluded with the excellent local band Black Water County.
A total of 350 people attended including several members of our Group. An amazing profit of £2600 was made after settling all the bills for things like portaloos, generator hire and refreshments. Having now witnessed how much enjoyment people had, I believe that the Potato Pants racing could really take off and help make this a much bigger annual event. The name ‘Potato Pants’ is certainly very memorable and many people have insisted that I don’t change the name. Most of the feedback received has been very positive and plans are already in place for a similar but even better event next year. I’ve already been fortunate enough to have an amazing musician agree to perform next year at no expense to the Group. Roll on June 3rd.