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Ideas / Album / May Fayre
Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival

These photos were taken at the May Fayre and Puppet Festival in Covent Garden in 2003 and 2004. For more details about this year's event, see: Ideas/Events/May.

In 2011 this event takes place on Sunday 8 May from 10:30am to 5:30pm. For details of timings see:

Welcome to St Paul's Churchyard in Covent Garden, London. The diarist Samuel Pepys noted seeing "Mr Punch" near here in May 1662: a plaque has been put up at the front of the church to commemorate this. Since 1976 this has become the location of an annual May Fayre and Puppet Festival. Come and enjoy the performance ...


Traditionally this event starts with a colourful procession, led by a brass band, which starts and ends in the churchyard

One of the organisers ... a ventriloquist?

The band gets into full swing ...

... followed by Punch and friends

Marching through Covent Garden's streets

The band's as quiet as a whistle (maybe) ...

... and is modest about its ability!

Give the performers a hand!

Is he Punch drunk?

Mind your fingers!


In most years there is a special church service which involves the Punch and Judy puppeteers.
Note that there is no puppet service in 2008 because this event coincides with the Christian festival of Pentecost.

Oye! Oye! Oye! Come into church ...

... where Rev Mark Oakley leads the service

Punch joins the congregation - repenting for his sins?

This double act gives an unsual lesson

Hats off to the Superior Band

Today the church attendance has doubled!

The choir leaves at the end of the service


Traditional entertainment at this event often includes Morris dancing and folk music

Morris dancing by the men ...

... and by the ladies ...

... and mixed dances in traditional dress

Folk musicians performing

Maypole dancing is sometimes performed in front of the church

Donna Maria's Maypole performance

It isn't as easy as it looks ...

... can be quite a stretch!

There's no escape from the middle!

"Sweet pea" smiles sweetly


Puppet performances take part in the garden throughout the afternoon.
The space nearest to the front is reserved for children, but adults can enjoy the shows as well.

Sooty behaves badly (as always ...)

Watched keenly by a young audience

Today's stars are Punch and Judy ...

With guest appearances by a devil ...

... and a crocodile !


Alternative Arts (organisers of event):
St Paul's church, Covent Garden:
English Miscellany folk dancing group:
Donna Maria's World:
Guide to Punch & Judy:

Puppets and Puppet Theatre
Author: David Currell
Publisher: The Crowood Press
Date: March 1999

Dancing around the Maypole
Author: Diana Jewitt
Publisher: English Folk Dance & Song Society
Date: May 1999

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Events in Covent Garden:
Covent Garden Christmas Lights: Ideas/Album/CoventGardenLights
Great Christmas Pudding Race: Ideas/Album/PuddingRace
St George's Day celebrations: Ideas/Album/StGeorgesDay

Other related pages:
Morris dancing: Ideas/Album/MorrisDancing
Village fete: Ideas/Album/Village-Fete
Events in the UK in May: Ideas/Events/May
Entertainment in London: Life/Entertainment/London

Home page: Home

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