Oakley Court Hotel, Sunday 25th August, 2019
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"From what had gone before this was certain to be..........A Picnic."
UPDATE: Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
Well, the 2019 picnic was great fun once more.
This year the hotel managed to lift the guest limit to 200, which was 100 out of their 118 bedrooms. The event had sold out a few months earlier, but one or two people managed to get last minute cancellations.
As always, so lovely to see the Transylvanian flag flying from the flag-pole as we drove up to the hotel and to meet up with long term friends as well as making a few new ones over the weekend.
With a check in time of 3pm, we'd arranged for the picnic food to be served from 4.15pm to after 6pm in order to give people a chance to check in and get their costumes on.
The hotel had set out tables for us once more on the lawn outside the main building (it's a posh picnic!) and planned them so they were in the shade of the trees. Brilliant planning as the day was hitting nearly thirty degrees centigrade. We chatted to one or two people who had decided to keep some of their more elaborate (and hotter) costumes for the evening and wear something a little cooler in the day.
We also had a surprise visitor this year. Stephanie was introduced to Peter Robb-King, make up artist for The Rocky Horror Picture Show amongst many other movies. Peter was at the hotel with his wife who was celebrating her birthday and had, unbeknown to us, planned to drop in and say hello to the picnickers. He stayed for some photos and chatted with several fans and even returned later that evening for the movie screening.
The food this year was the best ever, well I thought so anyway, with lots of choice and everyone catered for be they meat eaters, vegan or anything in between. There was even an ice-cream machine for desserts. I seem to have spotted one young person go around at least three times for that.
There were some amazing costumes this year, as well as the more traditional show and film outfits. Time decided to come as "Rose Tint My World" in the most incredible costume. It was also quite fun to try and work out what people were dressed as. It took me a while to get why loads of folks at the screening were dressed as various types of fruit. "Forbidden Fruit"!
The giant Minion costume comes from a show reference, we started a shout-back on the 2018/19 tour to when Rocky says "I'm trying to hide from my master and his minion", with "Banana!"
As always after the Picnic itself we did a quick group shot of many of the attendees in front of 'the castle' and then people had free time to get a drink, or wander around the hotel and grounds before we had our late night screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
We headed to the Windsor Suite at around 8.30pm. Stephanie had brought some rare and picnic merchandise to sell and the hotel once more set up a bar in the rooms.
With a slightly different lay-out to the room to fit the 200 attendees in we had two large tv screens as well as the projection screen. When we did the traditional raffle I really should have used a microphone, my ability to project my voice isn't as good as I thought. Oh, well. Next year.
The film started just before 10pm. One little glitch this year was with the AV, the hotel had a new USB radio transmitter for the image and although I am sure it would be great for power-point presentations and the like, it began to buffer a little because of the bandwidth needed for the movie. It got a little frustrating seeing the movie play perfectly on the computer monitor, but not on the projection or television screens and even a restart did not fix it correctly. I'm sure we'll have that sorted for next year though as everything worked fine last year. Sorry if it spoilt anyone's enjoyment of the film.
After the movie, a few of us headed back to the bar for an hour or two. Quite a few people headed back to their rooms as it had been a long, very warm, day.
After breakfast the next morning we did the 'plain clothes' group shot and had a while to chat once more to our fellow fans. I always say there is a fun game of "spot who's who now they are not in costume", but with only 18 rooms not taken up by the fans we changed that to "spot who wasn't here yesterday".
This year we had arranged with the hotel that guests could book for the 2020 picnic as they checked out and many people took advantage of the offer. The hotel even set up an extra booking computer to sort it. There ended up with two queues in the lobby and we watched people check out in one queue then immediately join the second one to book for next year.
As we packed the last of our kit back into the car and set off for home we started the countdown to next year and the fifteenth picnic at Oakley Court.
A huge thank you to all the staff at Oakley for once more making the event a success and a special thank you to all the attendees for making it so much fun for us too.
You can see hundreds of images from the day below and please do feel free to send us more images or let us know what you thought about the event.
Images from the 2019 picnic
For more information about the event, see our main Rocky Horror Picnic Show page.
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