Photo of Wynn's waltzer.

Anderton & Rowland fair at Dartmouth Royal Regatta

Anderton & Rowland provided the funfair for Dartmouth’s regatta week, the busiest week of the season. The town assumes a festival air, with high ceremony, live music and fun competitions such as crabbing and the waiters and waitresses race.

Principally an important rowing and yachting occasion with some fun events thrown in, the funfair has long been associated with the regatta. The lessees are Anderton & Rowland and the fair was held on the spacious Mayors Avenue car park. It opened from Wednesday 24 to Saturday 27 August in fine, dry weather.

With the lessees having commitments at two fairs in nearby Torbay, regular tenants provided the equipment. There was a good variety of very well-presented machines and games at the pay as you go fair. The towering Over the Falls Booster could be seen all over the riverfront and from Kingswear across the river, and acted as a colourful beacon after dark.

Simon DeVey for Anderton & Rowland told us that business was up to the firm’s expectations, but nothing like the level of 20 years ago, with late night closing and bumper crowds. The closing times at fairs across the country are now much earlier, Simon added.

The main attractions at Dartmouth included: Alan and Michelle Jenkins’ Over the Falls Booster, Atlanta dodgems, Terminator Miami and tagada; Shaun Rogers’ Stargate Twin Spin; Keith Stanworth’s Sizzler Twist; and Charlton Harris’ Crazy Jungle fun house. Supporting attractions included a good selection of games, juveniles, bungees and catering.

Over in West Dorset, David and Carol Wynn opened at West Bay for the school summer holidays. After days of unbroken sunshine, the weather changed in mid-August. Within minutes of my visit on Tuesday 16 August, the sky darkened and a deluge of biblical proportions fell, forcing the fair to close for a couple of hours. At 84 David is still manning the Waltzer, and his daughter, Maxine, the Miami. 

The fair at West Bay has for many years been held on a large field, adjacent to the Brit Valley campsite. It is accessible from the harbour via a footbridge over the River Brit.

David, Carol and family have operated the fair for many years during the school summer holidays with regular tenants Clifton and Jean Hill and family, with a long run of very smartly presented side stuff. 

Edward Danter Jnr presented the Miami, fold-up dodgem, runaway train, and Wynn’s waltzer. Susan Hill was on her usual position with the confectionery and candy floss. The hours here are long, with the fair opening daily at 2pm and closing around 9pm. Trade was in line with previous years, though last year was particular busy, of course.

Edward Danter Jnr took some of his equipment to Weymouth Pavilion, as sadly the carnival was not held this year. Among the attractions were Edward Danter and family’s Super Star, Super Bowl and Sizzler, along with supporting juveniles, games and catering. A busy time was reported.

Edward also attended Bridport Carnival on August 20, which is a highlight of the town’s calendar and includes a procession held on the third Saturday of August.

The highlight is the Sunday evening torchlight parade from Bridport to West Bay. This spectacle involves 1,500 blazing torches being carried by families as they snake their way to the Bay for a celebration with live music and fireworks on East Beach, which keeps the fair busy. 

The fair was held at Asker Meadows, and among the attractions here were the Danter family’s Super Star, Sizzler and juveniles.

Photo: Wynn’s waltzer at West Bay, Dorset for a summer residency.

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