Dancers at Le Viaër Marchi
Le Viaër Marchi Saumarez Park
The National Trust of Guernsey's largest and most popular social and public event is Le Viaër Marchi (literally, in Guernsey French, the Old Market) which always succeeds in creating a "Guernsey" atmosphere, despite the size of the operation.
It is always held at Saumarez Park on the first Monday in July (which the organising committee has convinced itself is the driest day of the year) and runs from about 6pm until the last stragglers leave. The evening invariably draws an enormous number of locals and visitors alike. Some of the latter are known to organise their holidays so as to coincide with it.
There are stalls selling pictures, plants, vegetables, jewellery, children's toys and antiques. Then there is the highly popular offering of traditional Guernsey delicacies, including Guernsey Biscuits and Bean Jar (a pork and bean "soup"). Guernsey Gâche (the local fruit cake), local butter and cakes. 250lbs of Gâche (a local cake) are consumed in a typical evening, not to mention copious quantities of Guernsey cider. There is a constant supply of entertainment, including various sideshows, the Boys' Brigade band and traditional local dancing.
The Marchi is a colourful and widely anticipated annual event in Guernsey's calendar. The Marchi now provides the greatest single source of income for an event to boost NTG funds. In 1970 the net takings amounted to £400; in 2000 this had risen to £20,000 and the latest figures show an increase of over £10,000 to well over £30,000 which is good news, everything considered!