ETWALL WELL DRESSINGS REVIEW I
The pictures on this page were taken on the 15 May, the first day of Etwall Well Dressings 2004. When large crowds gathered to witness the blessing of the wells, to browse round the stalls, to enjoy the many sideshows and to marvel at the high standards achieved by the well dressers.
The weather was ideal, warm and sunny and the children were able to sit on the grass and enjoy the ever popular 'Punch and Judy' show, with quite a few adults taking more than a passing interest. Soon the refreshment areas were busy and the entertainment for the day got into full swing.
Etwall does not have a long tradition of well dressing and as a result of this the dresser's are free to reflect local interests, anniversaries and other topical subjects of the day. In the past themes have been many and varied ranging from trying to save local Post Offices to Bonnie Prince Charlie.
The themes for 2004, were again splendidly varied with the Town Well, the starting point for the tour of the wells, depicting Florence Nightingale with her lamp. A particularly topical subject was chosen by Etwall Primary School, whose theme was 'Healthy Living'.
Well dressing is a community event and both young and old are given every encouragement at Etwall to take part. Two weeks before the Festival the boards are put into the John Port School Lake to ensure they are thoroughly saturated and do not absorb the moisture from the clay. A week later the clay is 'puddled', by all accounts an enjoyable event for the children who like to paddle in their bare feet in the clay!
The puddled clay is then put on the boards and smoothed down, in order to allow the design to be transferred onto the boards. After it has been 'pricked out,' the slow process of filling in the picture starts with all the materials that have been collected.
Only natural materials like stone, bark, wool, feathers, shells, seeds, cones, leaves, flowers and the like are used at Etwall. large designs take a group of people about five days to prepare and every care needs to be taken to ensure that the finished product will stand up to bad weather.
SPECIAL FEATURE 2004
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The 2004 well dressings took place on the 15th, 16th and 17th May, when eight wells were dressed. There was no central theme.
1. Etwall Women's Institute. 2. Mill Meadow Way. 3. Guides. 4. The Blenheim. 5. Old Station Yard. 6. Scouts. 7. Brownies. 8 . Etwall Primary School.
St Helen's Church: a spectacular display prepared by the Mickleover Flower Club, provided a number of arrangements based on a religious theme.
Methodist Church: provided a beautiful tableau of floral and artistic features depicting a message or theme from the bible.
ARTS AND CRAFTS EXHIBITION
Held in the Frank Wickham Hall, for the duration of the festival, the exhibition maintained the traditional arts and crafts theme.
As well as featuring paintings by the local Art Club, a variety of craft stalls were present. The stalls varied, but candles, jewellery and floral pictures are all regular features of this market, together with antique photos and other specialist traders.
John Port School: light refreshments were served in the canteen at John Port School, in A Block situated near the coach park and village green.
Methodist Church Hall: light refreshments were available during the festival in the hall.
2004 FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT
A 5 a side football tournament took place during the festival, when four pitches were available. The matches were played on a knockout basis.
OFFICIAL TRADERS 2004
It is important to note that many local shops and traders, such as the Harrison's ice cream vans, actively contribute to or support well dressing , providing a significant income to the festival.