The new Cuckfield Vintage Emporium (CVE) was launched last week on 8th March. Sometimes a long anticipated event – one that has been subject to weeks of preparation and careful planning, can be a disappointing anti-climax. Fortunately for Darcy Shepherd – the driving force behind the Cuckfield based regular monthly vintage and country-style fairs – this was not the case.
In fact it was quite the opposite. Despite the weather doing its worst to throw a damper on things with a relentless downpour from dawn ’til dusk, all expectations were exceeded. Throughout the day there was a steady flow of visitors keen to be part of the unique shopping experience that only a well organised vintage fair with a good range of choice artefacts, clothes and object d’art can offer.
Twenty-five enthusiastic stallholders transformed The Queen’s Hall in to a glittering Aladdin’s cave brimming with decorative homeware, beautiful painted furniture, lovely linens and other fabrics plus an array of vintage and ‘pre-loved’ fashions.
“We love coming to Darcy’s events” said one exhibitor, “you can always rely on the organisation being right and there are always lots of vintage shoppers looking for lovely gifts and pieces to add that finishing touch to their homes or wardrobes.”
Whether it was the shocking weather, or more likely, the culinary delights on offer, one of the highlights of the event judging by the constant throng was ‘Tory’s Tearooms’ which kept everyone refreshed and replenished throughout the day with wonderful cakes and savouries – Tory’s jumbo sausage-rolls deserve a special mention in their own right, they are not only scrumptious but they’re fast assuming cult-status!
Just for fun a free prize-draw was organised which meant every visitor through the door who gave an email address got their name entered in the raffle for a delicious bottle of English sparkling wine from the internationally acclaimed Bluebell Vineyard Estates of Furners Green, East Sussex. The lucky winner was Jenny Williams who lives in Haywards Heath. The wine was Bluebell’s Hindleap Brut Rose, a Silver medal winner in the 2012 International Wine Challenge – you can find out more at http://www.bbvy.co.uk.
One of Darcy’s objectives for CVE is to support and sponsor CHICKS, a charity that organises week-long respite adventure holidays for Britain’s disadvantaged children. The idea is to encourage CVE visitors to donate to the charity and then at least match those donations with a contribution from CVE. The idea is just taking off and there are plans to raise the profile of this venture and Darcy is sure that as her visitors become familiar with the aims it will win strong support.
Speaking to several vintage shoppers on the day, the most frequently heard comment was ‘how friendly, informative and helpful’ the stallholders were. And the feedback from stallholders was equally complimentary with most commenting on the fact that so many visitors were clearly there to have fun and to buy something special.
We spoke to Jean Askew of Chelwood Gate and her daughter Katherine, who had travelled from Hampton near Richmond, as they were leaving with arms full of bargains. “I am especially thrilled with my beautiful vintage mirror” said Jean, “I know exactly where it is going to go – in the alcove above our antique wine rack – it will look perfect.”
Katherine, who was struggling with a just-purchased full-sized handmade quilt, as well as a 3-month old baby, said, “I’m really delighted with this and I know my husband is going to love it too – I can’t wait to get it home.”
That was the reaction of couple of pretty satisfied customers who, it is probably fair to say, summed up the experience of the whole event. The next CVE is again at The Queen’s Hall, Cuckfield on 12th April – hope to see you then.
11th March 2013.