Like much of the UK, the Leicestershire countryside hosts a series of local fetes and festivals over the summer, many of which are actually impressively large events relative to the size of the village hosting them. Such is the Shakerstone Festival 2016, and for that matter, each year at the festival. The village is small, with the parish in the 2011 census showing 921 inhabitants including the nearby villages of Barton In The Beans and Odstone. You get the idea. However, the festival turns the area into the place to be for the first weekend in September each year. I was only there on Sunday, and so missed the Roman Chariot Racing and the Birmingham Blues Brothers amongst other things, but there was plenty to do on Sunday too.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight made an appearance with both a spitfire and a hurricane, flying over the arena in formation.
Unfortunately, the wind and cloud meant the scheduled jump by the RAF Falcons couldn’t happen, but there was plenty more to see. The military presence was a theme, and as well as the action in the sky, there was the opportunity to see some classic vehicles on the ground too.
The US Civil War Reenactment Society put on a number of shows and skirmishes, and you could visit their camp during the weekend, as well as see platoons of Union and Confederate soldiers marching around. There were also cavalry units in attendance, including the 8th Texas Cavalry.
Keeping the 19th Century US theme, the excellent Lincoln County Regulators were there. I’ve written about them before, and their show is excellent, reliving the world of the Wild West, and when they are not having gun fights, there is the opportunity to go and meet them and see their equipment – domestic as well as guns – close up.
Of course, it would not be a weekend without motor racing, and there were heats for the North West Lawn Mower Racing Association there too.
Among the many, many classic vehicles on show, I found a Trabant, which always reminds me of my former home of Chemnitz, just down the road from Zwickau from where the little cars came. This car was compete with an “airbag” and a DDR flag.
Although small, Shakerstone does have both a canal and the Battlefield Line run through it, so boat trips and steam train rides were both available too.
It’s a great day out, or a weekend, with far more going on than I can describe here, with bands, bars, stalls and all sorts of other attractions. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.