Michaelmas Fair returns after two year absence

It has been absent from the calendar for two years but one of the county's most popular events returned at the weekend.

Joe Black and Sam Evans with Spider the fairground Steam Engine at Bishop's Castle's Michaelmas Fair
Joe Black and Sam Evans with Spider the fairground Steam Engine at Bishop's Castle's Michaelmas Fair

Bishop's Castle's Michaelmas Fair took place for the first time since 2018, with more than 1,000 people turning out to enjoy music, classic traction engines and cars as part of Saturday's entertainment.

Due to the Covid uncertainty when planning the event earlier this year the majority of activities over the weekend were not officially organised by the committee, and were instead operated on a pop-up basis.

They included music in the square, a display of rare historic traction engines from Alistair Evans of the town's Ransford & Sons Timber Yard, along with classic cars and tractors.

Keith Whiddon, chair of the fair's organising committee said they had been thrilled to see people back in the town enjoying the event.

He said: "It was lovely, the atmosphere was wonderful and the interesting thing is it was like a pop-up festival where people just did their own thing and it worked really well."

Drinkers enjoying the afternoon at the Six Bell's during the Michaelmas Fair
People enjoying the afternoon at the Six Bells during the Michaelmas Fair
People enjoying the afternoon at the Six Bells during the Michaelmas Fair
Showing off their 'Pots & Dots' at Bishop's Castle's Michaelmas Fair were Yvonne Baccanello and Sue Beemond
The Six Bell's in Bishop's Castle was part of the Michaelmas Fair
The Rockin Lord performs at Bishop's Castle's Michaelmas Fair

Mr Whiddon said it had been great to see people out enjoying the activities after a two year absence, as well as to provide entertainment for supporters from further afield.

He said: "There are a lot of people who come to Bishop's Castle for Michaelmas and book up in advance so it was nice to do something to give something to them."

The committee chair explained how it had been difficult to organise a full-scale official event due to uncertainty earlier this year – when planning and decisions need to be made – leading to the pop-up nature of the weekend's fair.

He said: "We had to make a call in Easter because there is a lot to organise and at that point the advice was 'you cannot run an open street fair, it would be too dangerous and you can't control numbers'."

The committee is also appealing for fresh members to take the event on for the future, with it being a key part of the town's economy.

Mr Whiddon said: "We need to be investing in this festival, Michaelmas brings in a lot of money to the local economy. It makes people come back to Bishop's Castle because it is a sort of unique thing and people love it. It is a massive thing for the local economy."

People will be invited to express an interest in joining the committee at the annual meeting which will take place later this year, at a date to be confirmed.

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