ABINGDON’s Michaelmas Fair, reputed to be Europe’s longest street fair, is set to return next weekend.

The annual fair has been part of the town’s identity since the 14th century.

It starts on Sunday, October 7, and runs until Tuesday, October 9.

The High Street, Market Place and Ock Street will be transformed by a mile of carousels, shooting arcades, stalls and sideshows.

Town council leader Sandy Lovatt said he was looking forward to riding the galloping horses. And he invited people to turn out for the fair service, in the Market Place at 7.30pm on Sunday.

Michaelmas Day on September 29 is the feast of Michael the Archangel, but Old Michaelmas Day falls on October 10, which this year will be the day after the festivities finish. According to English folklore, Old Michaelmas Day marks the day that Lucifer was expelled from Heaven, and fell into a bramble patch.

It is said he spat on the brambles out of spite, so the date traditionally also marks the last day on which blackberries can be picked.

Gary Gill, 46, from Brookside Close, grew up with the fair and now takes his grandchildren Evalynne, who is five, and Jacob, who is two, along to enjoy the fun.

Mr Gill said: “I look forward to it every year. I grew up with it and it is nice to go down and watch them setting it up.

“It’s really for the kids but I like to go down on my own.

“They really like the little roundabouts and going down the helter skelter.

“I am probably going to be roped into spending a lot of money.”