Join the Henley mad hatters

Every two years, I’m told, this quaint little village on the banks of the Klip River turns out in style for the Henley on Klip Mardi Gras.

We’ve heard a lot about it, but Saturday, May 25, will be our very first Mardi Gras.

Everyone seems to be doing something for the big day, from running craft stalls, to volunteering to braai boeries, to designing street posters with hats on them.

The theme this year is hair, headdresses and hats; so wacky and wonderful hats and colourful hair should be plentiful on the day.

It’s been a bit difficult to find out exactly what is planned – the old-timers seem to assume that everyone knows, and the newcomers are as bemused as I am. People are shy and no contact names or numbers are given.

So, here goes … what I’ve managed to discover … The Mardi Gras is planned as a family fun day (in 2017 more than 4 500 people turned up), it’s free, it’s at Fraser Park (I’m told there is parking, but otherwise people park on the verges), it starts at 09:00 – the dignitaries arrive at 10:00 – and ends at 18:00.

At 10:00 it will be officially opened by the Mayor with red tape and scissors. Traditionally there’s a parade of children, horses, vintage cars, and presumably people in hats, around Fraser Park.

This year there will be 130 stalls, offering information, crafts and the cuisine of at least eight countries, as well as the traditional hamburgers and boerie rolls. The CPF are preparing their secret sauce. The Lions are running the bar and a second-hand book table (saving up specials for the day) and Rotary are offering a gin bar. There is also a cocktail bar and craft beer.

Children will be catered for in the children’s tent while the adults indulge. I know some crafters and artists who have been busy for months preparing for the Mardi Gras!

Entertainment runs through the day, I’ve been assured. Among those confirmed are solo artist Sean Miles, the Sambrazil belly dancers, Dominque Tarr, Anneri Kriel, Dr Victor Dechaqua and the dance company and marimba band from OWLAG, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. I’m told there will be an equestrian display and a friendly cricket match or two, including veterans, and I’ve been warned to be careful of cricket balls through windscreens.

Raffle tickets are on offer at R20 and you can win meal vouchers from local restaurants, such as the Hound, Molly’s Speakeasy, Montagues, Windmill Coffee Shop, 1904 The Original Henley, About Time and Deans Log Cabin, food hampers from Cyrus Farms and the Serendipity Farm Stall, hairstyles, gym contracts, massages, paint, tools and even a case of beer. Helicopter flips are planned for the afternoon.

The Midvaal Local Municipality and radio station 90.6 FM are sponsors, so tune in. Proceeds go to Henley on Klip community organisations and projects.

It sounds like good fun. See you there!

See www.henleymardigras.co.za

For more Hoopoe News see www.henley-on-klip.co.za