MARLDON APPLE PIE FAIR
APPLE PIE FAIR PHOTOS – YOUR APPLE PIE FAIR PHOTOS – OPENERS & PRINCESSES – THE APPLE PIE WALK
The people of Marldon owe a great deal to the late George Hill, who died towards the end of the 19th Century, and who was probably responsible for the Marldon Apple Pie. His family still live in the village.
During the apple season, George used to travel weekly to the Market at St. Marychurch on a donkey, with panniers full of apples. On his return the panniers would be full of washing to be laundered. On the day of the annual fair and sports, held in Cary Park in St. Marychurch, George drove a cart carrying a huge apple pie, drawn by two black donkeys wearing harness and reins decorated with plaited straw, around the town. The pie, oval in shape and about the size of a kitchen table, ended its journey at the fair and was eaten with cream. The Marldon Apple Pie was a feature of the annual fair at St. Marychurch until George died.
Marldon had its own annual show and sports every September, from 1888, and the Marldon Apple Pie was a feature of the procession to the field. It was drawn in procession behind a band from the Royal Oak (now a private residence) where it was baked, to the field. According to the recorded memories of villagers, the pie was baked in several sections and assembled as a full pie on the donkey cart. The villagers referred to the annual event as “Apple Pie Day”. Unfortunately, the fair ceased to take place for some years in the 20th Century.
In 1958 a group of enthusiastic researchers, led by Mr. Fred Westaway, pieced together the story of the Marldon Apple Pie, decided to revive the annual village day and called it Marldon Apple Pie Fair. In recent years a large pie was baked at the Torbay Chalet Hotel (later the Torbay Holiday Centre, but now no longer in existence) in Marldon. The event draws together members of village organisations and residents of Marldon in a combined effort to produce the Apple Pie Fair, and attractions include various arena events, an exhibition of craft activities and local artists in a large marquee, plus numerous side-shows and stalls.
The main organisation of the Fair is done by an ad hoc sub-committee of the Village Hall Council, and the profits of the Fair help to keep Marldon’s fine Village Hall in “APPLE PIE ORDER”.
The Fair is held on the last Saturday in July each year.
I attended the fair in, I think, 1959, when it was opened by Ken Dodd. He arrived at the head of the procession leading the donkey and cart with a giant carrot! My grandparent had retired to Marldon and lived on Belfield Avenue. We came to stay with them every year until they moved to Sussex in 1966.
I have very fond memories of Marldon but I imagine it’s changed enormously over the last 54 years!
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Top tip if you’re visiting the Marldon Apple Pie Fair… when you arrive, be sharpish about getting in the queue, to sample the delights of the apple pie with a dollop of fresh Devon cream before it runs out! When you set eyes on the magnificent apple pie you will see why – it’s seriously tasty!!