Eagerly awaited by the local authority, showpeople, many of the local population, visitors and fairground enthusiasts alike, the 800th Loughborough Fair certainly did not disappoint.
The largest array of amusements seen in the Leicestershire town along with good promotion by Charnwood Borough Council and a number of supporting events ensured that the four day fair (November 10 to 13) was a great success.
As it did three weeks earlier at Ilkeston, BBC East Midlands Today gave positive coverage to the fair on the opening evening. This included informative interviews with showmen Darren Jones and Arthur Proctor. Students also commented that they were very pleased to see the fair back.
The Loughborough Echo featured the fair on the front page as well as further coverage inside, while the council had banners all around town publicising the 800 years of market and fair, the Charter was granted to the Lord of the Manor Hugh le Despenser by King Henry III in 1221.
The Town Hall – right in the centre of the fair on Market Place – hosted a month-long exhibition to mark the occasion. Featured was fairground art, including work by past president of The Showmen’s Guild David Wallis Snr, whose family has been associated with the fair for generations, plus photos and models from local enthusiasts, and entertaining anecdotes from Loughborough residents. A separate article about the exhibition will feature in the January’s World’s Fair.
On Saturday, the final day of the fair, the Fairground Association of Great Britain’s popular model show took place at John Storer House. Here the Ronnie Taylor Award was presented to Albert Holland Snr by the association’s President, Councillor Anthony Harris.
The fair was officially opened at 6pm on Wednesday, November 10, by the Mayor of Charnwood, Councillor Paul Baines. Generally, those we spoke with on Saturday, which was mild and fine throughout, were satisfied with the levels of business.
There were fresh and exciting attractions in virtually every area, along with the regular favourites, making this a special year for Loughborough Fair with a good atmosphere.
At the High Street end there was a fantastic light show from Billy Crow’s King Frog and Dane Crow’s Exciter while Colin Pawley worked the mic well on his Animal Kingdom pick. Fresh attraction in The Market Place were Elliott Crow’s Beach Party Miami and Macauley Hart’s Jungle Fun House. Nearby, Albert Godden’s shooter themed as a Wild West Saloon was impressive.
In Devonshire Square, Lawrence Bishton’s Gallopers looked a picture and competed well with its more modern neighbours. The narrower Market Street had a line of games and juvenile attractions leading to Ashby Square, which hosted Stewart Ashley Robinson’s Star Flyer and John Holland’s Miami.
Due to ongoing regeneration work taking place in Ward End and Bedford Square, some regular tenants were relocated to the Granby Street car park, where the whole area was utilised on this occasion. Newcomers here were Joe Barker’s Fun House, Albert E Holland Jnr’s Extreme Orbiter, Ryan Pearson’s Matterhorn, Ashley Wood’s Miami and John Groom’s Booster.
Michael Thompson’s traditional Dodgem made a first visit to Bedford Square, replacing Alex Holland’s track. Another newcomer was Robert Summers’ Fantasy Land Fun House, occupying a place in nearby New Street, down the side of John Storer House.
Major rides and attractions
James Squires’ Ghost Train
John Wheatley’s Spooky Towers Haunted House
George Brett’s Over The Falls Booster
Dane Crow’s Exciter (main photo)
Billy Crow & Son’s King Frog (Jump & Smile)
John Proctor’s Dodgems
William Percival Jnr’s Waltzer
Elliott Crow’s Beach Party Miami
Stanley Reeves Jnr’s X-Treme Top Scan and AtmosFear Loop Fighter
Jorden Crole’s Rotor
Edward Furborough’s American Circus Fun House
Stewart Ashley Robinson’s Star Flyer
John Holland’s Insomnia Miami
Macauley Hart’s Jungle Fun House
Steven Hill’s Miami Trip 3
David Wallis Snr’s Ice Maze
William Roberts’ Tagada
Katie Louise Noyce’s North Pole Fun House
Keith Stanworth’s Sizzler Twist
Andrew Robinson’s Crazy Pyramids Fun House
Ryan Crow’s Magic Mouse Spinning Coaster
John Groom’s XLR8 Booster
Ashley Wood’s Miami
Junior Clark’s Mad House
Ryan Pearson’s Midnight Express Matterhorn
Albert E Holland Jnr’s Extreme Orbiter
Joe Barker’s Crazy Circus Fun House
Michael Thompson’s Dodgems
Bertie Holland’s Waltzer
John Silcock’s Freak Out
Farrar Shaw’s Fighter Extreme
John Holdsworth’s Crazy Bulls
Charles Cole’s Sizzler Twist (presented by Raymond Armstrong)
Robert Summers’ Fantasy Land Fun House
Main photo: Dane Crow’s Exciter.
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