Get set for thrills at 'longest street fair'

The 2009 fair

The 2009 fair

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

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.”

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Comments (6)

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12:22pm Sun 30 Sep 12

TonyH says...

"get set for thrills"? - that should read 'ridiculous and quite needless disruption and delays'. As for " Town council leader Sandy Lovatt said he was looking forward to riding the galloping horses. ", oh, good for him. Perhaps he doesn't need to mess about with the extra delays getting to/from work (indeed, anything in Abingdon's centre) thanks to the large blockage in a town that already has a severe rush-hour traffic problem. I've asked several times over the years who pays for all the traffic signage, diversions, etc, and for the clean-up of all the litter - and not to mention compensation for the businesses that have to close, never yet had a satisfactory answer.

And please don't bother saying it's only once a year, and it's 'traditional'. Firstly, it could be only once a year, but somewhere more suitable out-of-town (Swindon should do?!), and as for 'traditional', don't be silly. That fair in the 1300s was an essential gathering to sell/barter goods, and animals, to get a job, maybe a rare opportunity to buy new shoes or a barrel, or somesuch. A fairground ride and a dollop of candyfloss is hardly the same?
"get set for thrills"? - that should read 'ridiculous and quite needless disruption and delays'. As for " Town council leader Sandy Lovatt said he was looking forward to riding the galloping horses. ", oh, good for him. Perhaps he doesn't need to mess about with the extra delays getting to/from work (indeed, anything in Abingdon's centre) thanks to the large blockage in a town that already has a severe rush-hour traffic problem. I've asked several times over the years who pays for all the traffic signage, diversions, etc, and for the clean-up of all the litter - and not to mention compensation for the businesses that have to close, never yet had a satisfactory answer. And please don't bother saying it's only once a year, and it's 'traditional'. Firstly, it could be only once a year, but somewhere more suitable out-of-town (Swindon should do?!), and as for 'traditional', don't be silly. That fair in the 1300s was an essential gathering to sell/barter goods, and animals, to get a job, maybe a rare opportunity to buy new shoes or a barrel, or somesuch. A fairground ride and a dollop of candyfloss is hardly the same? TonyH
  • Score: 1

3:52pm Mon 1 Oct 12

aet123 says...

TonyH - What a killjoy! Abingdon's street fair is part of our history both ancient and modern which lots of people still take great enjoyment from visiting. As for the traffic problems, I think a road closure for 3 days out of 365 is something we can all cope with!!
TonyH - What a killjoy! Abingdon's street fair is part of our history both ancient and modern which lots of people still take great enjoyment from visiting. As for the traffic problems, I think a road closure for 3 days out of 365 is something we can all cope with!! aet123
  • Score: -1

4:10pm Mon 1 Oct 12

King Joke says...

I'm kind of with AET. After experiencing one year's worth of delay commuting to Wantage in the late 90s, I always made sure I booked time off when Abingdon fair was on. Yes it was a pain but some people presumably are enjoying it.
I'm kind of with AET. After experiencing one year's worth of delay commuting to Wantage in the late 90s, I always made sure I booked time off when Abingdon fair was on. Yes it was a pain but some people presumably are enjoying it. King Joke
  • Score: -1

3:22pm Tue 2 Oct 12

Victor's_friend says...

Shouldn't be too difficult to spot TonyH when the fair is on, so if he is behind your car slow down a little more to enjoy the sights and sounds of everyone else having fun.

Wonder if he has a games console or how else he plays with himself!
Shouldn't be too difficult to spot TonyH when the fair is on, so if he is behind your car slow down a little more to enjoy the sights and sounds of everyone else having fun. Wonder if he has a games console or how else he plays with himself! Victor's_friend
  • Score: -1

4:11pm Tue 2 Oct 12

Feelingsmatter says...

I hate the fair. Vomit, bad smells, rubbish everywhere, stabbings, well OK, one stabbing a few years back. But we mustn't stand in the way of tradition!
I hate the fair. Vomit, bad smells, rubbish everywhere, stabbings, well OK, one stabbing a few years back. But we mustn't stand in the way of tradition! Feelingsmatter
  • Score: 1

4:16pm Tue 2 Oct 12

Feelingsmatter says...

And I hate Christmas.
And I hate Christmas. Feelingsmatter
  • Score: 1

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