Faringdon’s Blackbird Day – sing a song of sixpence!
On Saturday May 20th Faringdon is celebrating Blackbird Day, an annual arts event and market, which celebrates the town’s historical link to the famous nursery rhyme ‘Sing a Song of Sixpence’, which was allegedly written for Henry James Pye (1745-1813), Faringdon’s very own Poet Laureate.
According to several accounts, Pye’s poetry was often subject to mixed reviews, and his birthday ode to King George III was so bizarrely florid that a literary critic of the time lampooned his poetry and punned his name in the now popular nursery rhyme containing the lines “…four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie”.
Blackbird Day ensures that this connection is not lost, marking an important part of Faringdon’s history as well as celebrating its position as a rural market town.
In previous years Lesley Holdship, food writer and owner of Faringdon delicatessen Hare in the Woods, offered market goers the opportunity to sample authentic Blackbird Pie. “Believe it or not it is a traditional dish, using rook and pigeon and other meats to make a cold game pie. These days we may not find these ingredients as appetising as we once did, but it is part of our rural history.”
Although the ingredients for this dish are difficult to come by, organisers hope to be making another Blackbird Pie for the market this year, as well as celebrating with young storytellers, a parade and a range of rural arts and crafts, alongside a market full of fresh local produce and gifts.
Throughout the market, the Town Team and community groups will be running competitions, craft activities and events for the family to celebrate Faringdon’s history and link to the Blackbird and the famous nursery rhyme.
The Blackbird Day Market and celebrations form a part of the Town Team’s calendar of Saturday Markets that are held right throughout the year, on the third Saturday of every month, between 10.00am and 1.00pm in the Marketplace.
EDITORS for more information, and images (below):
Bethia Thomas, Faringdon Town Team, 07906 821680