Soho Has The Best Village Fete Anywhere - And It Returns In July

Last Updated 21 June 2024

Soho Has The Best Village Fete Anywhere - And It Returns In July
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 things better. World class theatre? Check. Best restaurants anywhere? Yup. Quaint village fetes? Er actually, yes.

The Soho Village Fete — which is on Sunday 21 July 2024 — 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 (in fact, this takes place in the grounds of St Anne's Church, so not far off). There's tea and cake, morris dancing, splat the rat, a raffle... all that parochial jazz, and very pleasant it is too.

A poster for the 2024 fete

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, where you'll see the likes of saxophone ledge Ray Gelato, drag queen showdowns — you name it.

A young child with a person dressed as a horse
Totally normal stuff for the Soho Village Fete. Image: Londonist

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 various things perched on it. 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.

Soho Village Fete, St Anne's (accessible via Wardour Street), Sunday 21 July 2024, free but you should book a ticket