Filed under: fair
Jessica couldn’t get to the fair this year and so she asked me to take a picture of her favourite ride. She remembers it best as Jump ‘n’ Smile. More recently it has been known as Froggit. This year it had been reincarnated as Super Bounce.
I sometimes try to imagine what Abingdon Fair was like in the past with the help of old newspapers … In 1830, instead of Superbowl, you might have seen “an exhibition of wild animals and fat ladies, and elephant and dwarfs, monkeys with hands and a child without any.”
Instead of The Waltzers “for the price of one penny, you could have seen the lying in state and funeral procession of George IVth, and the glorious battle of Paris during the very last revolution.”
In 1840 “Our Police Force needed to be vigilant in detecting the hordes of pick-pockets who could be seen in every direction pursuing their vocation.”
By 1882 rides had started to replace the shows, and exhibitions, so instead of Captain Hook you could have experienced “Bailey’s Steam Yachts with the simulated motion of the sea. Three electric lamps stationed outside gave a brilliant light, but they were not seen to best advantage amid the smoke and the blaze of paraffin lamps.”
“Birds was the only steam roundabout at the fair , but there was a rickety one in the Sheep Market at which a pony provided the power.”
October 6, 2015
It has been raining all day, but that did not stop people going to the fair. It was just not so crowded as previous years.
But there were still a lot of fun lovers: many with umbrellas and waterproofs, and quite a few who did did not seem to worry about getting wet on this one day in the year.
At least being a Street Fair it does not get muddy underfoot
and you can fly above the rain on some rides.
Maybe tomorrow the weather will be better.
October 5, 2015
The Michaelmas Fair in Abingdon was set up in the years following 1349 when Black Death swept the country. Laborers had become scarce and a new law was introduced to regulate wages – to be set at the Michaelmas Quarter Sessions.
In Abingdon the annual hiring fair was held on the Monday following Michaelmas and has continued to this day. Its importance as a hiring fair has long since disappered.
There is now a mile long Street Fair stretching from the Market Place to the end of Ock Street – held on the Monday, and Tuesday, before October 11th.
2015 is another year, and the Fun Fair was set up this Sunday morning with a lot of hard work and logistical experience.
It is the first year that the new Mayott House, independent living scheme, on Ock Street, has experienced the Fair, and for three days it looks like Sunset Strip.
There has been a religious service of sorts, at the start of the Michalemas Fair, for a very long time. Mr Woodford, Father and Son, have offered Woodford’s Golden Galloping Horses as a venue in the last few decades.
There was a short service with hymns and a blessing took place this evening at the Galloping Horses. But for family reasons Mr Woodford could not be there and so Hebborns of Oxford helped out with their carousel.
Then everybody was given a free ride on the horses.
The service used to be a chance for the town to show their appreciation to the show people. Back in the Abingdon Herald of 14th October 1882 it says “The show people were regaled at the Liberal Hall with a substantial tea, to which over a hundred did justice, and after their bodily wants had been satisfied, addresses, interspersed with hymns, were given.
October 4, 2015
The morning rain cleared, and by late afternoon patches of blue sky appeared. Sunlight even dazzled some fair goers as the sun went down. The crowds of fair goers included mostly young families at first, young adults predominated later on.
There was one new ride this year at the top of Ock Street – called Star Flyer. It is like a giant version of ‘chair o planes’.
As always there were many activities for the children that parents could watch and photograph.
Then there were the stalls selling candy floss, burgers and chips, donuts, and other fun fair foods.
There were games of chance. You could win a prize by throwing darts, shooting a rifle or bow, or throwing balls at great speed at coconuts. There was a hook-a-duck, a hook-a-whale, and a hook-a-super-hero, and an amusement arcade.
There were also the smaller vendors with helium balloons, glow sticks or glow whirls -things for the children to take home.
We don’t have shows at The Abingdon Fair in 2014, unlike 100 years ago in 1914, but there is a fortune teller in a caravan: Gypsy Maria Lee started telling fortunes at a young age, having inherited the gift from her mother who inherited the gift from her mother … all the way back from the original Gypsy Lee.
Larger rides this year included: Woodford’s Golden Galloping Horses, Bodycount, Meteorite, Walzer, Tagado, Dominator, Powershot, Superbowl, Tornado 2, Twister,
STORM, Extreme, Froggit, Crazy Bulls, Roller, Star Flyer…
and dodgems. By the way I was asked to mention “The Oxfordshire County Council hearing on the proposed Crossing changes on Ock Street and Marcham Road will be held next Thurs 9th in Oxford at 10.30am. It is too late for written comment now but if anyone wished to speak, they would need to give one day`s notice.”
October 7, 2014