All the fun of the Fair!

As a young teen, I thought going to the Fair would be an exciting event. Somehow they’d merged in my mind with circuses – you know, greasepaint, colour, lights, spectacle – so when I first went, I found it somewhat grubby and a bit dull … except for the dodgems – which I did find a bit of fun.

My first Fair was in southwest London during a half-term break from my boarding school. Staying with our guardian, her daughter – a year older and seemingly vastly more mature and experienced – took us. She skillfully navigated her way through the crowds, flirted with the young men managing the rides, even more skillfully put off those she didn’t find attractive, and returned us home safely. She went back to the Fair later that evening with friends, while we remained home watching TV with her parents.

I’ve been subsequently and can’t say that any experience changed my mind. So, when posters went up locally for a Steam Fair, I was a bit underwhelmed at Himself’s suggestion that we go with our cameras. Yet how right was he. From a photographic perspective, it had lots to offer. The colours at this Fair were bright and vibrant, and I wasn’t surprised to discover that the current owner-manager runs training courses on signpainting – for the Fair is an excellent showpiece for those skills …

Some of the roundabout characters were rather unusual …

But there were more usual options too …

The day was grey and overcast, but the Fair was filled with colour, light and life.

 

Were fairs a fun part of your childhood?


© Debra Carey, 2019

7 comments

  1. Fairs? Not the kind you describe. I did go to Luna Park, a permanent amusement park, which is over 100 years old and still there, though there have been quite a few changes. No more tunnel of love, or Giggle Palace, but still the Ghost Train and the Scenic Railway, the world’s oldest continuously operating roller coaster… I loved it as a child, especially the merry go round(the horses have been repainted to what they were) and the Ferris Wheel. And the fairy floss, which you can still buy there…

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  2. The traveling carnivals around here are just as you say, grubby and dull, but we do live close enough to Santa Cruz to make trips to the boardwalk there and there is the county fair that comes to the area once a year. Now that the kids are grown it would be a fun place to take some pictures perhaps.

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  3. Wow Sue, 100 years old? That is quite something! The only ride you mention which was still at this Fair was the Ghost Train which I was – almost – tempted to ride 😉 Oh & there was candy floss – which I’m assuming is the UK name for for fairy floss. That was also avoided as getting all that sticky sugar onto expensive cameras and lenses would be a crime, and a potentially expensive one at that (sadly!)

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  4. Janet, sounds like your fairs are like my childhood ones but the ones you mention in Santa Cruz could give you some good subjects for photography. I look forward to seeing the results if you give it a go 🙂

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  5. Many years ago I lived in a Fenland village on the Greenwich Meridian called Swavesey which, like most mediaeval villages had an annual ‘Feast’ or market. I lived in Market Street and on the open space a few yards from our house a funfair used to come for a few days in May. There were the Gallopers, and candy floss, and dodgems and shooting gallery and a few other things but it wasn’t huge because the space it had to fit in was limited.

    BUT for a couple of years I was busy studying in the evenings and when the fair came the noise was, to say the least of it, intrusive. Worst was that they had a klaxon to announce that the dodgems were about to start and it sounded every 15 minutes from about 2.00pm to 4.00pm and then from 6.00pm to 10.00pm. It made studying rather difficult!

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  6. That sounds absolutely lovely Alan, well … with the obvious exclusion of the klaxon, which sounds a complete horror! To be fair, it’s the village which sounds lovelier than the Fair!

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