September was declared World Fun Fair Month (WFFM), the first ever international community awareness month for the travelling fairground industry.
Promoted by Future4Fairgrounds, World Fun Fair Month (WFFM) was highlighted with a logo on flags and banners flying at many fairgrounds.
Celebrated throughout the UK and around the world, WFFM aimed to unite showmen and bring people together to celebrate all aspects of the fairground, and the joy fairs bring to communities everywhere. Showmen from the UK, Europe, North America and Australasia were involved, working together to ensure this extraordinary event was truly global.
To kick off the event, Future4Fairgrounds launched a video – I Am A Showman – to highlight awareness of who showpeople are and to demonstrate the unity of the community as showmen of all ages and several nations got involved.
After more than a year of Covid restrictions and lockdowns, people were encouraged to visit their local fair to enjoy a day of fun for the whole family.
World Fun Fair Month was a celebration not just of the industry, but also of the people that share their unique cultural heritage as showmen, a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation.
Showmen are intrinsically linked with the towns they visit and the fairgrounds that have been a staple of the community for centuries and Future4Fairgrounds wanted to make sure this history and culture was recognised and celebrated.
Future4Fairgrounds has also been involved in getting the children’s book, ‘The Show Must Go On’ into schools, purchasing and distributing 1,000 copies to 200 primary schools. The book tells the story of a family of travelling showpeople and their fight to defend their yard from developers.
Colleen Roper of Future4Fairgrounds told World’s Fair: “[the book] is truly extraordinary, portraying a subject that has never been covered before in this way, raising awareness of our community, accurately and positively through education.”
The group also supplied additional teaching resources that accompany the book. “These have been valuable tools in helping our unique and often misunderstood community to be represented positively in schools around the UK. By giving teachers an opportunity to plan lessons around our industry, perceptions of showmen can be changed from the ground up”, Colleen said.
Funds for the book project were raised from the sale of World Fun Fair Month merchandise such as the flags and banners, many of which could be seen on fairs well after the event finished in September.
September was a busy month for Future4Fairgrounds as they also helped initiate a groundbreaking inclusive online education event called Showmen: Getting a Fair Education? The event was staged with the support of Buckingham University and evolved from the schools book project.
Explaining the rationale for the event, Colleen Roper said: “Showmen are leading the way to empower schools, colleges and universities to help higher education facilities learn more about our industry and way of life, to support positive inclusion and celebration of our community’s history and contribution to society. This has been something that we didn’t anticipate happening when we first had the idea for World Funfair Month, so it has been truly wonderful to see the schools project evolve in this way.”
Colleen added: “During the past two travelling seasons, fairgrounds across the world were cancelled. Showmen have endured huge financial losses and uncertainty as a result. WFFM represents a fantastic opportunity to recover by reminding people of all the joy a fair brings to the town and welcoming families back for a fun day out.”
Future4Fairgrounds (Colleen Roper, Bernice Wall, Nicola Hill, Hayley Danter, Joannie Peak and Narvenka Noyce) are hopeful that World Fun Fair Month will now become an annual event.
Picture: The World Fun Fair Month logo could be seen on flags and banners flying at many fairgrounds during September.