24 May 2009 - Newfane and the Ale Feast

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There was a sizable crowd awaiting us in the town of Newfane as the "tour" buses containing all the Ale sides arrived. The local police had kindly cordoned off an area for the usual circular procession of dancers. This was followed by each side in turn performing a show dance while the others waited in the welcome shade of the trees. As you would expect, everyone was on excellent form and the crowd were very appreciative.

Kettle Bridge did their signature Yellow Rose of Texas dance which inevitably went down a storm with the American audience. They even laughed at Ian's legendary "traditional English folk tune" joke! Click here to see a video of the dance.

Then it was everyone back in the buses to Marlboro College for The Ale Feast. There was a tremendous atmosphere in the dining hall which had been beautifully prepared for the occasion. Everyone enjoyed an excellent meal of spaghetti and meatballs followed by strawberry shortcake. We take our eating seriously and the meal did not disappoint! Then it was time for the party pieces.

Some sides had prepared special performances for the occasion and these included a triangular Cotswold dance and a song from Rock Creek Morris Women apparently about hot flushes! They even thoughtfully provided fans.

When it came to Kettle Bridge's turn, Ian first presented a framed picture of the old wooden Kettle Bridge to Paul Eric Smith who was instrumental (well, he is a musician after all) in inviting us to the Ale. Our heartfelt thanks go to him.

Then it was time for a presentation by John Todd of "Aunt Sally" T-shirts to the gallant Kettle Bridge team who narrowly missed out in the previous day's challenge despite fielding our very own Sally.

The entertainment resumed when the KBC dancers delivered a well-rehearsed(!) US marine style marching song followed by a four-handed Cossington. If you can't visualise what on earth that could look like, luckily we have some video footage available. Click here to watch it and look out for the last minute injury substitution. Perhaps the most surprising bit was the way in which the audience joined in with the traditional British songs.

With the formal proceedings over, it was time to repair to the campus Pub, to bring to a close a truly memorable day.