Sunday, 26 August 2012

Pub Games at CAMRA Beer Festivals

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have many strings to their campaigning bow, but perhaps the most visible sign of the work the many volunteers turn their hands to are the numerous beer festivals which take place throughout the year. Virtually every major town or city hosts a CAMRA festival, and whilst the principal aim of these popular events is to introduce people to the wide range of real ales, ciders and perries which are produced in this country, they can also act as a shop window for all that's great about the British pub.

A small but important example of this is the collection of traditional pub games held by the campaign, and which are available to festivals for the important business of fund raising. The images shown here were taken at the recent Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival, which is an important event in the local social calendar particularly for younger drinkers, many of which may never have come across pub games like these. The attendance at the Peterborough festival numbers tens of thousands over the course of the week, and if only a few of those who enjoy the games on offer then go on to play them either casually or competitively in pubs, then another important goal will have been achieved by Europe's most successful  campaigning organisation.

Two rare, and very regional games. On the left a Dobbers (or Evesham Quoits) Board, traditional to the West Midlands and Welsh Borders area. The other game is a fairly modern interpretation of a 'Toad in the Hole', a form of Pitch Penny local to the county of Sussex, and Lewes in particular.

Sjoelbak is a game of the Low Countries which can occasionally by found in British pubs, and involves sliding wooden discs into numbered holes to build a score.

Ringing the Handpull has the air of a recently invented game, but is thoroughly in keeping with the nature of the more eccentric pub games.

Roll out the Barrel uses the small barrel-shaped balls usually associated with Leicestershire Long Alley Skittles. This helps to add a slightly random element to every roll, unlike the Long Alley shown here which uses resin balls.

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