Soho Village Fete - Eccentric Party Is Back In July

Soho Village Fete - Eccentric Party Is Back In July

Soho Fete sound up your street? You'll love Lambeth Country Show too.

A waiter in a white jacket, running for the finishing line in front of the French House
The waiter's race is the most (in)famous fixture of the fete. Image: Londonist

Sorry, but London just does thing better. World class theatre? Check. Best restaurants anywhere? Yup. Quaint village fetes? Er actually, yes.

The Soho Village Fete has been going almost half a century now; organised by the Soho Society, it's the kind of do you'd expect to find going on in the vicar's back garden (and in fact, this takes place in the grounds of a church). There's tea and cake, morris dancing, a raffle... all that parochial jazz, and very plesant it is too.

But this is Soho, people, and so you can also expect a tug of war between the police and fire brigade (surely the firefighters win this every year?), a spaghetti-scoffing content, a best in show where pooches must dress like royalty — plus a music stage, which last year featured everything from saxophone ledge Ray Gelato, to a Drag Queen showdown.

A cartoony poster for the fete featuring various characters

As for the pièce de résistance — that would be the well-documented Soho waiter's race: the finest possible display of Soho eccentricity, in which local bars and restaurants put up a sucker runner to leg it up Dean Street, whip around Soho Square, come back along Greek and Romilly Streets, then back to the starting point outside the French House. The catch, of course, is that they must carry a tray with a bottle of fizz, wine glass and ashtray balanced on top. Lining the street with a beaker of Cidre Breton, and cheering on this whimsical feat of athleticism is surely one of the great joys of London in summer. And trust us, one way or another, all that fizz is getting spilled...

Soho Village Fete, St Anne's (accessible via Wardour Street), Sunday 16 July 2023, free

Last Updated 30 May 2023