FOLLOWING the disappointment of last year’s cancellation, the Mop Fair will be back in town on Monday and Tuesday (October 11-12) next week. 

The traditional event was first recorded in 1138 and was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1584.

Town clerk Angela Price welcomed the return of the event, which is also known as the October Fair, or Hop Fair. She said: “The official opening of the Fair will be at 5pm on Monday when the Town Crier will formally announce the opening and we look forward to seeing you then.  

“There will be lots of rides and stalls open, but please call into our offices on Church Lane as we have a limited number of money-off discount vouchers for the rides.”

Ledbury Mayor Andrew Manns also welcomed the return of the fair. He said: "After the difficult times that the people, traders, and businesses of Ledbury have had, it will be a welcome return to something more normal.

“The events that have happened in the town, including the Carnival in the Car Park and the Three Shires rally cars ceremonial start, will give great hope to everyone and some enjoyment. 

“With a bit of luck we shall also see bonfire night and Christmas Lights switch on.”

During the fair, the High Street and Homend, including a section of Bye Street will be closed to traffic from 4.30pm on each day.

While the modern Mop Fair is all about fun and frivolity, it originally served as as a sort of labour exchange, where people looking for work would gather with the tools of their trade, such as mops. It also marked the end of the hop harvest, a season when anyone would have found temporary employment. 

This dual function has led to controversy over its correct name. In 2014 we reported on a dispute over whether it should be called the Hop Fair, not the Mop Fair.

The town’s then mayor, Bob Barnes, said both names made sense. "It is a Mop Fair, the same as in Tewkesbury. It has also been called the Hop Fair, because of the hop picking. Is it a fair with several names? I think so. Whatever it is called, come and have a good time.”