The travelling fair is a compelling event that offers short-term distraction from our everyday surroundings while lingering long in our individual and collective memories. Squeezing into impossibly tight urban spaces, taking up grand boulevards, filling market places, or taking over open fields, the fun fair caters for all-comers, young and old. It is an experience nearly everyone can relate to, a common cultural currency, and the fair itself an overlooked cultural asset. Who has not been to the fair? According to HSE figures, there are 3.6 billion passenger rides at travelling fairs each year.

Ilkeston Charter Fair

Ilkeston Charter Fair was first granted in 1252, and is held on the first Thursday after the first Sunday after the 11th of October. It has remained in its traditional setting, the market square, over the past seven centuries, and is a classic example of a vibrant, sprawling street fair, transforming the everyday environment of the town.

Market Place

Fairs frequently were positioned in a town’s market place.

Opening ceremony

Opening Ceremonies are a formal, celebratory occasion when representatives of the various institutions involved in a fair gather in public to pronounce the fair open.

Oxford St. Giles Fair

The annual St Giles' Fair takes place in September each year, held on the first Monday and Tuesday following the feast of St. Giles (September 1).

Plan | Layout

The layout plan is usually drawn up by the Fair Superintentent, and sets the position and extent of each ride, attraction and stall, as well as other facilities such as St.John's Ambulance post, Fair Office, and access or delivery points.

Signs & Marks

Before the rides arrive, the preparation of the site for involves the careful setting out of the locations for each ride and attraction. Some setting-out marks are permanently fixed to or painted on the surfaces of the host town, but remain more or less invisible to the eyes of its citizens.

The Waltzer

A ride with freely spinning tub-shaped cars mounted on an undulating, rotating platform, forming part of the ‘Switchback’ family.