The historic King’s Lynn Mart, held by Royal Charter from 14 February each year, has had to be cancelled this year.
The fair is not allowed to take place under the current Covid-19 regulations set out by Government on 4 January 2021.
Under the National Lockdown: Stay at Home guidance, circuses, fairgrounds and funfairs are stated as businesses that must close.
The Mart celebrated its 816th opening last February and was the only fair of major significance to take place in 2020 as the country entered its first lockdown just a few weeks later.
Charles Barwick, Chairman of the Norwich & Eastern Counties Section of the Showmen’s Guild, said: “This is a terrible blow for all our operators, not only because of the impact on their livelihood, but also because the Mart represents the start of our season before operators head off to different parts of the country.
“It has always been a significant and colourful occasion, supported by the local community, with the great and good going on the rides for the opening, and then our children’s days, and special day for children with additional needs.
“We are gutted that we won’t be there to provide some colour and entertainment to the people of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, but hopefully, when things return to some sort of normality, we will return next year.”
Cllr Elizabeth Nockolds, Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Cabinet Member for Culture, Heritage and Health, who normally reads the Proclamation at the opening of the fair, said: “The Mart has always been a key event in the west Norfolk calendar, something that many residents look forward to each year.
“The Mart is part of the tradition of King’s Lynn, which marks the end of winter and the move into spring. It brings with it a riot of colours and sounds, and brings the Tuesday Market Place to life. It is a shame that it has been cancelled this year, and I know it will be missed by many.
“I do however thank the showmen for taking the health and well being of their operators and the people of west Norfolk into consideration. It is the right thing to do during this lockdown to ensure that everyone does their bit to protect themselves, protect others and protect west Norfolk.
“We look forward to discussing with them, their plans for next year’s Mart and hope to be able to welcome them back to the Tuesday Market Place in February 2022.”