John Parrish's Extreme Orbiter at Thame Fair.

Thame Fair 2022

Thame Fair took place in the streets of the Oxfordshire town for three days in September.

The fair is organised by the Showmen’s Guild London Section, but was advertised this year under the banner of Capital Funfairs.

Chairman of the London Section, Lawrence Crick, explained that this is a new venture, owned by the Section, set up to use digital platforms to try and attract customers and promote events.

It has its own website and social media pages.

“I think the next move will be offering vouchers via the channel, special offers as part of a promotion of specific events,” Lawrence said. Payment options, contactless and ticketing will also be part of a digital drive.

Thame Show

Thame Show, which used to claim to be the largest one-day agricultural show, is now defunct.

The fair now has to stand on its own, and seems to be showing no signs of reducing in size or popularity, even without the show.

The fair is a major event that completely dominates the High Street, Cornmarket and Upper High Street. A ‘Runaway’ fair follows in October.

Thame Fair Attractions

This year’s fair saw two high flyers, with Bob Wilson’s Funfairs’ Booster and the Cowie family’s Star Flyer at either end of the ground.

Regular attractions on return visits included:

  • Rae Armstrong-Wilson’s Matterhorn
  • William Sheldon’s Twister and Formula
  • John Ive’s Night Rider waltzer, the roots of which can be traced back nearly 90 years despite it being a very modern-looking machine.

Originally purchased by John’s great grandfather, the machine is a rarity with four hills and nine cars, and despite the LED lighting, strobes and scanners, John was sat in the same paybox built by his grandfather. It’s very compact and circular, as he explained. “It did have a square box at one time, but grandad couldn’t see all around so he rebuilt it as you see it now.”

Completing the fair were:

  • jumpers from Martin Draper and Andrew Holmes
  • Keely Wall’s Super Star
  • John Parrish’s Orbiter
  • Smith’s track
  • James Manning’s Freakout
  • and Philip Green and Joby Farrell’s Miamis.

Other attractions came from:

  • Robert Summers
  • Lawrence Crick
  • the Wilson family
  • Dolphi Crick
  • Philip Searle
  • John Rawlins
  • the Penfold family
  • George Hebborn
  • Stephen Pavey
  • Shady and William Scarrott.

Additional catering and stalls were provided by Frank Ayers, Bill Pettigrove, Cohen Events Catering and other regular tenants.

Main photo: John Parrish’s Extreme Orbiter at Thame Fair.

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