Held on the first Saturday in July the Capel Fete has been an annual event in the parish of Capel, Tonbridge, Kent for many years. One theory is that the origins of the Fete date back to a bonfire in the village as part of the VE day celebrations of 1945. The success of this event is believed to have prompted the creation of an annual event from 1946. Records from Tonbridge Free Press in 1952 include mention of a Capel Show with fancy dress for children. In 1953 “The afternoon started with a fancy dress parade and parade of decorated vehicles”.
The fete provides not only a fun event for the whole community but also provides extremely valuable funds for a large number of local charities, organisations and parish groups. For many of these organisations it is their main fundraising event of the year. The fete is held in conjunction with the Capel Gardeners’ Society Summer Flower and Produce Show. For this one day, the whole of Capel Parish community gets together and promotes good causes for the advantage of all.
In recent years the fete has grown in size and popularity, attracting an estimated crowd of between 1500 and 2000 people. Since 1993, the fete has commenced with a traditional procession of decorated floats, other vehicles, pipe band and walking groups from Tatlingbury Farm (opposite Capel School) to the Recreation Ground in Five Oak Green where the main fete and Gardeners’ Show are held. On the recreation ground itself there are traditional fete stalls and side shows, arena displays, refreshments and a funfair.