Each year the Abbey Medieval Museum on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, host the annual Pemberley picnic and as the name implies it is a Regency Style picnic day.
Our party consisted of five ladies and two gentlemen and we all got into the spirit of the day donning Regency attire and participating in many of the activities. Our party did have the misfortune of sharing our table with Emperor Napoleon and his Lady Josephine however, on closer acquaintance I am happy to admit I found them both quite engaging and agreeable company.
Participants are encouraged to dress in the style of the day and I was pleasantly surprised to see so many enter into the spirit of the event. Ladies donned empire line dresses, bonnets and parasols of every imaginable colour. Some elaborate and fancy, others more demure, befitting an afternoon in the country.
The men looked very elegant and handsome in breeches and frock coats. Black top hats and boots were polished to a high gloss. Even the children wore beautiful floral walking dresses trimmed with lace, for the girls and the boys wore short pants and felt caps.
Held in the centre of the village green, Maypole dancing proved popular. The caller* gave the ladies intricate instructions on how to weave their ribbons to create the traditional coloured patterns around the pole. This event proved most amusing as the dancers wove under and over each other performing the steps. Other activities included archery, Graces and Siam, Pall-Mall and Shuttlecock.
It was then on to a wonderful afternoon tea supplied by the local ladies. The long tables groaned with a generous array of sweet morsels. Consisting of petit cakes in the French style as well as slices and biscuits more familiar to the English. Of course, hot tea was plentiful and was well received, enabling everyone to quench their thirst.
Tables surrounded the green and the shade from the large pine and oak trees was a welcome respite from the warm day. Later in the afternoon we were treated to a display of horsemanship skills by the English and French cavalry guards. There was also a musket* display highlighting what fine shots our English militia are.
Mr Darcy and his wife Elizabeth welcomed everyone to their home and later mingled with the crowd bestowing small gifts to all as a thank you for their patronage. It was a humbling experience to meet them as it is not often one gets to be in the presence of greatness.
The day was such an enjoyable experience we made plans to attend next year. I urge you all to hold a place in your diary to do the same.
The Abbey Museum website has further details: abbeymuseum.com.au/picnic-at-pemberley