WHEN a village fete committee decided to budget for this year’s summer gathering because of the recession, few in the community realised how far they’d go.

Keen to keep costs down, the committee has ditched the bunting this year and will be lining the streets of Langton Herring with... pairs of pants.

What started as a joke at a meeting has turned into reality with assorted piles of underwear strung up on string to decorate the village in the run-up to the fete on Saturday.

Committee members admitted there were a few raised eyebrows at first. But villagers have now taken the idea to heart and have inundated the organisers with their undies.

It’s all part of keeping with a credit crunch theme for this year’s fete, which incorporates a dog show.

Committee member Amanda King suggested the pants as a bunting idea as a joke at a committee meeting after hearing bunting used at previous events had broken or perished and there wasn’t enough money to buy replacement material.

To her surprise, the committee liked the idea and chairman Anne Kerins even volunteered her home as an official ‘pants collection point.’ It was hoped to decorate the streets around the village green where the fete will be held. But so many pairs have turned up that underwear looks set to dangle over other streets too.

“Ann has run with the idea and the village has been very supportive. We even hope to have some holy pants from the vicar,” Amanda said.

She added: “The credit crunch is the theme for our fete this year. We’re keeping all the prices as low as possible and will be selling credit crunch biscuits which are delicious and cheap and also don’t cost the Earth to make.

“In the current economic climate we appreciate the impact it can have on people, particularly young families.

“I think visitors to our fete who see the pants will take it in the way that it’s meant – a bit of fun. Hopefully, it will make them smile and I think these days we all need something to smile about.”

Anne Kerins said: “We all thought that life is a bit of pants these days so how appropriate to fly pants instead of bunting. It’s given people a bit of a chuckle although I don’t think everyone approves.

“We must have over 100 pairs. People have been very generous.”

She said the aim was to make the fete as affordable as possible with no charges for parking or admission. The village fete and dog show on the village green will be opened on Saturday by the vicar, the Rev Ada Whittock, at 12.30pm (dog registration is from 11.30am). Town crier Doris Eastwood will also be on hand.

Entertainment will be provided by Brass Tacks concert band and there will be displays by the majorettes and police dogs (subject to availability). There will be plenty to keep the children occupied including the toss the wellie and splat the rat games, and Captain Stupid will be adding some madness and mayhem.

There will also be stalls selling books, plants bric-a-brac and local produce, skittles, a barbecue, Pimm’s tent, and a beer tent. Proceeds will be divided between the village hall and St Peter’s Church.