Ilkeston - Another Year, Another Fair
w/e 19 October 2014
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Ilkeston's 762nd Charter Fair

Another year has passed and once again car parks and streets were closed in Ilkeston's town centre to enable the 762nd staging of the Annual Charter Fair.


St Mary's Church has stood in the midst of the Fair for all of those previous 761 years and the tower, with one or two notable exceptions, still looks down on the Fair today. In recent years there have been some nay-sayers who complain about the disruption to the town centre but in all honesty the only real Chaos on the Market Place, as this picture taken just after the official opening at noon on Thursday shows, was a thrill ride.
At The Opening

All eyes at noon though were turned in the direction of the Town Hall where the Chief Executive of Erewash Borough Council, Jeremy Jaroszek read the ancient Charter of 1252 and the Mayor of Erewash, Councillor Kewal Singh Athwal rang the bells to officially declare the Fair open.
Three Favourites

The following day, a little bit earlier in the morning, the same area where they crowds had thronged for the opening was much less populated but this picture shows that three favourites, the Big Wheel, the Cakewalk and the Waltzer were standing in the regular positions near the Town Hall.
Twin Towers

Seen from near the fountain in the corner of the Market Place one of several Helter Skelters at the Fair appeared like a twin tower to St Mary's but the church tower is much higher of course.
Sky Swing

I mentioned earlier that St Mary's had looked down on the Fair with one or two exceptions and one of those seen at the Fair for the first time this year was the Sky Swing which was about double the height of the church. There were probably some fantastic views from the top and no doubt someone will have gone up there with a camera but my feet stayed firmly on the ground! At night the circling lights on the swinging chairs as they rose and descended the tapering structure brought to mind a "Close Encounter of the Third Kind".
South Street

The Sky Swing stood on the car park on Pimlico but the height of it meant that it could be seen from many places around the town. Here it can be seen towering above the Co-Op building from South Street where another of those Helter Skelters stood among the other attractions.

TagadaPolicemenIt's at night that the Fair really comes to life and the Pimlico car park was filled with mainly white knuckle rides. Another with a space theme was the spinning and twisting Stargate that was just one to satisfy the thrill seekers. The Tagada on Wharncliffe Road also whirled the riders around at phenomenal speed and it was near here too that we bumped into our friendly neighbourhood Policemen. PC Hamilton topped our poll in last year's "Pick A Picture" vote so this one is included by special request.

The roundabouts on Bath Street were much gentler aimed at the younger members of fair-goers but none the less exciting for the children. It was still quite noisy here with rides vying for trade but not as deafening as the loud music and calls to take a seat on the various rides on Pimlico.
Tea Cups

During the daytime, it was usually the smaller rides and roundabouts that were operating and adults were encouraged to ride with their children. I remember the last time I was tempted onto a ride like this many years ago in Great Yarmouth, the Tea Cups were spun round so quickly that I had to be helped off and it was several minutes before my head cleared and I got the use of my legs back!
At The Museum

Gavioli OrganIt's become a tradition now to call in at the Erewash Museum on Fair Saturday where fairs of times gone by are fondly remembered with the appearance of a steam engine and the playing of a Gavioli organ. For one brief moment the smell of the engine and the music of the organ transports us back through the years but both will be gone before dark and overnight most of the Fair will disappear too. The town's streets will soon return to normality but in another 51 weeks the travelling showmen will trundle into town to erect the rides and stalls which will magically appear in the blink of an eye and we'll be able to do it all again at the 763rd Fair.

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