There was something for everyone when Petworth’s historic annual fair returned to the Market Square last night (Monday, Novemnber 20).
Fine weather, in contrast to last year’s torrential rain and strong winds, brought out townspeople and visitors.
And as well as the usual exhibition of photographs and other activities for the older fair goers, this year The Petworth Society which has organised the event for many years, broke with tradition and laid on new entertainments exclusively for children.
“The arrival of the showmen in the Market Square was itself something of a spectacle,” said co-organiser Miles Costello, “with the huge trailers being skilfully manoeuvred into positions marked in the tarmac from previous years.
“The construction of the rides began almost immediately and continued throughout the afternoon with a noisy efficiency and in a few short hours everything was prepared for the following day.
“As usual the funfair was the mainstay of the event and Harris Brothers’ famous Southdown Gallopers were the star attraction, while smaller, traditional stalls jostled with more recent additions.”
Town crier Nigel Flynn, dressed in his official robes announced the fair open.
Inside the Leconfield Hall a choir from Petworth Primary School provided a musical opening to the proceedings.
A traditional Punch and Judy show brought howls of laughter from the young audience and a roving magician kept the show going.
“For the more mature fair goer,” said Miles, “the now customary exhibition of photographs of an older Petworth proved as popular as ever.
“After Just a few short hours the fair was over for another year. The showmen began dismantling the rides, and by the stroke of midnight the Market Square was clear and an eerie silence descended upon the deserted streets.”
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