- The Summer Fête – Bunty Picture Story Library : #427 
- Art: Jesús Redondo
Westfield Community Centre run a Summer Fête each year, but the Women’s Circle who usually organise it, feel that it’s only fair some other group take charge this year as all the groups benefit from the money raised for the facilities. While most people are reluctant, Anne from the youth group, spiritedly volunteers herself and her two friends (much to their dismay!). After Anne talks her friends, Sally and Julie, around they set off confidentially making a list of things to do and actually getting excited about the project, but things don’t go quite as smoothly as they would have liked!
First they contact Farmer Buckley for use of his field and he tells them they can use last years stall that are stored in the barn… though they may need a lick of paint. The girls find the stalls in poor condition needing more work then a paint job. When they can’t find anyone to help repair the stalls, they set about doing it themselves. This does not go well, but then Farmer Buckley’s son, Billy, comes across them and offers his woodwork skills. With the first problem sorted they go about trying to find someone to open the fete. Seeing a poster of pop star, Chris Rich, the girls think it would be great to get him to do the opening, even if it is most unlikely to get such a star. Being optimistic, even though it’s a slim chance they figure no harm in asking, and after getting no response from his agent, they go and try and see him at a show to ask in person. They get mistaken as contest winners and introduced to Chris, before they get a chance to ask him about the fête, the real contest winners burst in to expose them as frauds. Luckily when the girls explain why they are there, Chris takes it all in good humour, he even says if he is not too busy he’ll open the fête and his agent will be in contact.
Unfortunately after a few days they hear nothing from Chris’s agent, so are back to square one. They tell Mrs Lucas about this problem when she asks how preparations are going, she says she can get Bob Benning the local radio DJ to come. The girls accept, though privately Sally says she isn’t pleased to have an old boring guy with terrible jokes as their special guest, but they don’t have other options. More bad news for the girls when they go to barn and find the prizes have been stolen. With Billy’s help they find them dumped close by, some of the prize are broken, but they manage to salvage most of it . Their luck seems to turn for the good when Chris Rich shows up saying he can do the show, apparently his agent has been fired for mismanagement. The girls are so delighted until they realise now the have two openers! Then Bob Benning shows up! He tells the girls he appreciates being asked to open but he’d prefer to dress up walking around the fete entertaining people. The girls graciously accept, relieved the problem sorted itself. On the way out Bob makes a comment that he’s sure they could find some one else to open, like maybe the latest heart-throb, Chris Rich. The girls then realise he overheard their earlier conversation with Chris, they think he is great for doing that and they would never refer to him as boring again.
So just as things seem to be coming together, of course another obstacle presents itself. When they go to the field to start setting up everything, they find caravans there instead. Farmer Buckley tells the girls he didn’t realise they would need to set up so soon, he can’t ask the caravans to move, and that they will have to use the smaller field instead. Trying to make the best of things Sally decides to start moving things to field but slips and hits her head while moving a slide. She wakes up in a caravan, the owner Mary is a nurse and lucky Sally isn’t badly injured. Mary asks her what she was trying to do when she had the accident, and after hearing her story, Mary tells her she would be happy to get all the caravans to move to smaller field. Of course noting can ever go smoothly and soon after Mary notices her diamond ring missing and she blames Sally as she was in her caravan. The police are called, but it turns out two young boys had found it and took it not knowing it was valuable. Everyone is very apologetic to the girls after that, for the accusations.
Again things are finally running smoothly they’ve even come up with a contingency plan if it rains. Of course there is one final obstacle to overcome, when Mrs Lucas enquires about the food for VIPs like the opener and Mayor, the girls had not thought of that or even to invite the mayor. Luckily a quick phone call and persuading Mrs Lucas that the Mayor asked for her food specifically solves that. The day of the fete arrives and it is a sunny day, everything goes well, even Mrs Lucas says it may be the best one yet. Anne tells Mrs Lucas was thinking about the Christmas fair but Sally and Julie quickly shut that idea down!
A Summer story for Summer! A campaign/project can be a fun setting for a story. While often these type of stories have a saboteur working against the protagonist (like in Follow-My- Leader-Lil or “Hands Off Our Club!”), sometimes its just a a series of events to make an ordinary task more exciting. Organising a fete is no easy project on its own, and the girls of course get even more drama thrown their way with trying to track down a pop-star, having prizes stolen and even being accused of thievery themselves! The story keeps things interesting by giving the girls all these obstacles to overcome, while never letting things get too frustrating for them.
It also has some good humour, especially with Sally and Julie being the long suffering friends of Anne’s ideas. Although they soon come around to helping out and are proud of achievements at the end of the day, they are not ready to take on such another project again, unlike Anne! The girls are quick thinking, pretending to Mayor that his invitation got lost and taking the opportunity to meet Chris Rich in a case of lucky mistaken identity. They do get some help along the way, Mrs Lucas despite not wanting to run things does check up on the girls reminding them of things and even getting convinced to provide food, Billy Buckley and his friends despite the girls initial misgivings about the boys do offer a helping hand when needed and are the only ones to stand by them when they are accused of theft. Even both celebrities Chris Rich and Bob Benning come to the girls rescue in different ways.
It’s also another good example of Jesus Redondo art, whose style seems to suit the restrictions of the smaller picture story library format. As always with these PSLs it can be a challenge to present an interesting story with satisfying conclusion in a short format, but this works well, ending on success of fete and Anne getting grand ideas on the next fair.