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Crowds enjoy all the fun of the fair
3:00pm Friday 11th October 2013 in News
FUN TIME! The October Fair comes to town and Ledbury’s streets are filled with noise, light and delighted families.
A MILD autumn night brought large crowds to Ledbury’s streets for the opening of the annual October Fair.
While the turnout was slow to begin with, hundreds of fun-seekers soon flocked to the town centre for an event that has its origins as a trade and hiring fair in the days of Queen Elizabeth I more than 400 years ago.
This year’s fair, brought to Ledbury by the Rogers Family, started the traditionally way with a procession of local dignitaries down Church Lane and through the High Street.
This was led by the town crier, Bill ‘The Bell’ Turberfield and mayor, Councillor Terry Widdows.
It was Coun Widdows who cut the ribbon at the waltzers and declared the 2013 October Fair officially open. Afterwards, Ann Rogers offered free rides to children on the waltzers.
There is a close link between the Rogers family and the town council. Each year the fair brings in about £2,000 in revenue to the town council, and this money is divided between selected local charities and good causes.
Several councillors, including former mayor Coun Keith Francis, have been given honourary membership of the Showman’s Guild, and Coun Francis was spotted assisting Mrs Rogers in the kiosk for the dodgems.
Coun Widdows probably achieved a first for a standing town major by agreeing to try out Speed Buzz. The ride, which has come to Ledbury several times, lifts people well above the height of the clock tower of the Elizabeth Barrett Browning Institute and spins them down and around.
Afterwards, Coun Widdows said he really enjoyed the experience – especially the fine view of the town from the top.
“It was like Ledbury’s own London Eye.” he said.
The event used to be much more than the two-day fun fair it has become.
Half a century ago and more, there were certainly fairground rides, but there was usually also a boxing ring in the High Street. There would also be trade stalls selling goods in the Homend, especially crockery.
Further back, in a situation similar to that described by Thomas Hardy in Far From the Madding Crowd, men seeking agricultural work would have been hired in the street.
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