Finally, after a year’s delay, Spennymoor Gala has celebrated its 65th anniversary.
And despite a few showers, people came out to enjoy the festivities – including several local councillors and Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison – and business was good for the Showmen.
The Gala – held the first weekend in July – was cancelled last year due to Covid so the celebrations had to be put on hold. This year, the Gala committee (chaired by past Guild President John Culine MBE) was determined to do everything possible to put the event on.
Thankfully, after months of hard work and liaison with the council, the Gala was given the go-ahead on 17 June, just ten days before pull-on into the park.
Normally, a parade takes place in the High Street but the five-person committee decided this was too big a task this year with Covid restrictions.
The funfair, organised by John Culine, was able to go ahead, however, along with lots of other entertainment in the park.
Spennymoor Mayor Neil Foster officially opened the Gala on Thursday evening, 1 July, on John and Maxine Richardson’s pick stall. The Mayor thanked the Gala committee and the Showmen for their hard work and preparations to make the Gala as Covid-secure and safe as possible.
Every ride had sanitisers and the seats were cleaned regularly. The fairground layout was marked one way round and the lanes were spaced out wider than usual, to allow for social distancing. The Codiv Team visited the fair and neither the committee, the Police or council received any complaints.
Children with special needs had the fair to themselves from 1pm to 2.30pm on Friday afternoon when the rides opened up to entertain them. They all had a great time – and loved the fast rides!
All the children received candy floss, a pack of sweets and an orange drink whilst the carers were given a cuddly spotted dog for their school, Evergreen Primary School in Bishop Auckland, courtesy of John and Maxine Richardson.
Friday evening saw brisk trade for the Showmen.
Saturday 3 July was Gala Day and there were some worried faces when the weather forecast warned of thunder and lightning storms. The morning started grey but warm, the Gala attractions and show stage arrived and the scene was set – all that was needed were the people and good weather!
At 12 noon the fair opened and a steady flow of people started to come into the park. The weather did its best to stop the fun with a couple of showers, but didn’t succeed.
Among the crowd was the Mayor, who judged the vintage cars and fancy dress, along with several local councillors and Dehenna Davison MP.
As more people arrived, the fair enjoyed good business but thanks to the wider spacing, there was plenty of room for people to move around.
The forecast storms finally arrived on Sunday afternoon, the final day, so it was a wet pull-down for the Showmen.
Committee Chairman John Culine described the Gala as a “huge success”. A full range of fairground equipment included seven major rides, with numerous juveniles, stalls and supporting attractions, filling Jubilee Park.
After missing last year, Spennymoor residents had plenty to entertain them at this year’s Gala.
And next year, the committee is hoping to put the parade back on again … Covid permitting!
1. Dane Crow’s Exciter. Photo: Paul McHaddan
2. William Clark & Son’s Miami. Photo: Paul McHaddan
3. Reece Newsome’s Funhouse. Photo: Paul McHaddan
4. Philip Cooper’s juvenile. Photo: Paul McHaddan
5. Alfred Twilley’s square stall. Photo: Paul McHaddan
6. Emma Clark’s kiosk. Photo: Paul McHaddan