Petit Viaer Marchi ‘beyond expectations’

DOWNSIZING the Viaer Marchi this summer did not stop thousands celebrating Guernsey’s heritage.

It would not be the Viaer Marchi, big or small, without Max Gaudion making traditional crab pots. (Picture by Cassidy Jones, 29774733)
It would not be the Viaer Marchi, big or small, without Max Gaudion making traditional crab pots. (Picture by Cassidy Jones, 29774733)

Le Petit Viaer Marchi was contained within the courtyard at The National Trust of Guernsey’s Folk and Costume Museum, in Saumarez Park, as organisers took a precautionary approach as the event was timed very close to relaxation of travel restrictions.

National Trust of Guernsey vice-president Sara Lampitt said the many local stallholders, enthusiastic volunteers and troupe of performers on the central stage were a brilliant sight to see.

‘The event really was above and beyond my expectations, and has redefined what we are capable of in the courtyard,’ she said.

‘I hope in the future there is the opportunity to gather there again with the superb and natural acoustics, and good food, just to enjoy such a lovely place.’

She added that the courtyard setting was partly inspired by the past, as the first ever Viaer Marchi was held there in 1970.

‘When the court was in full swing it was like stepping into the past, it was intimate and jolly, with vendors talking to each other, there was music and the scent of bean jar floating around,’ she said.

Mrs Lampitt said the Viaer Marchi was usually one of the charity’s biggest fundraisers, but this year’s fair was more focused on recognising the island’s unique history.

‘We discussed it as a committee and decided to host the event regardless of possible losses – we wanted to keep the Guernsey heritage alive,’ she said.

‘Seeing the craft demonstrations really moved me, they are so beautiful and without displaying them like this they could die out.’

Museum manager Jake Le Gallez said the event was so popular the trust almost sold out of entry wristbands on the Saturday and resorted to rationing them to one per group on the Sunday.

‘The Viaer Marchi works on a smaller scale, works really well, and I am pleased – it was great fun,’ he said.

Organisers said though that they hope to resume the full scale event next year in its traditional slot on the first Monday in July.

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