Tuesday, 28 September 2021

House and Garden Show set to repeat success

THE organiser of the second Henley House and Garden Show says there will be something on offer for everyone

THE organiser of the second Henley House and Garden Show says there will be something on offer for everyone.

Interior designer Niki Schafer says she is nervous but very excited about the show, which will be held on the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, March 12 and 13. It is supported by the Henley Standard.

Mrs Schafer said last year’s inaugural show was such a big success that she decided immediately to repeat it.

“It will be much the same as last year because why change the things that work brilliantly?,” she said. “I think it’s a really perfect event for Henley.”

The show will be opened on each day by a choir, including one with members of the Henley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society.

It will be spread across four main sites — a marquee for exhibitors in Market Place, a space for more in the town hall, craft galleries in King’s Arms Barn and workshops at the Over-60s Club in Greys Road car park.

There will be 65 exhibitors, more than last year, with displays of indoor and outdoor furniture, flooring and artwork for the home.

The workshops will include one on upcycling and a cookery demonstration by chef Shaun Dickens, who runs the Boathouse restaurant in Station Road, Henley.

Mrs Schafer herself will host a session called “A walk through interior design”.

She hopes that Julia Kendell, of the BBC’s DIY SOS, will return as a guest speaker to join Alastair Broom, managing director of Garage Tek.

At 5pm on the first day there will be a home decor fashion show in the marquee in aid of the Chiltern Centre for disabled children in Henley. The design trail held last year will not be repeated.

Mrs Schafer, of Walton Avenue, Henley, explained: “It’s something we tried to do last year to engage the local retailers but was not as successful as I’d hoped.”

Instead, she plans to place House and Garden Show gnomes in the windows of shops and run a “spot the gnome” competition.

She said: “The aim is to engage the retailers. The whole idea of the Henley House and Garden Show is it’s a collaborative event.

“The retailers need support and it’s a fun way of getting people into the shops.”

There will also be a “scavenger hunt” for children. Students from The Henley College will man stalls at the show to gain work experience. Mrs Schafer said: “The Henley College partnership is something I really wanted to do last year but it was too much.

“The apprenticeship angle is really fundamental — it’s giving them the opportunity to work alongside a business.”

Mrs Schafer promised “a great show”, saying: “Visitors can expect fabulous craftsmanship, creativity and collaboration, which are the values of the show.

“We have kept it to the same size purposefully because once it gets bigger it really starts to be disruptive to the town.

“I don’t want there to be massive queues and people to be tripping over each other.

“People here obviously love their homes and gardens and last year there was a mix of high end and mid range but really good quality products for the house and garden. We want to make sure we attract the right clientele for the businesses and that there’s something for everybody — the students, the designers and the businesses.

“About two-thirds of the stands have been taken already so we’re in a really good position.”

She said last year’s show was exhausting for her.

“I put in well over 400 hours of personal time,” she said. “But I watched the video report the Henley Standard did and it made me cry because I’d forgotten just how much was involved and I was so proud.

“It was so well aligned with what the town wants that everybody assumed it had happened many times before.”

The show will be open from 10am to 6pm on the Saturday and 10am to 4pm on the Sunday.

Mrs Schafer is looking for models for the fashion show. If you are interested, call her on 07782 256444.

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