Ilkeston - All The Fun Of The Fair
w/e 19 October 2003
In last week's stage of the Town
Walk, we looked at this area of South
Street. Just one week later the annual fair has moved in and
transformed the place. All of the streets and car parks around
the town centre have been closed to normal traffic during the
week to allow the rides and sideshows to be set up.
This is a similar view up South Street
by night with townsfolk flocking to the fair as the music and
the flashing lights eclipse the Ritz Bingo Hall and the Old Mail
House on the right.
The Big Wheel stood in its usual position
at the side of the Town Hall and this year was graced by some
musical legends. How many can you recognise?
All around the town the thump, thump thump of today's music resounded
with a heavy bass line as one ride tried to outdo its neighbour
but music of a more traditional fairground type could be heard
on one of the rides that has been coming to Ilkeston for as long
as most people can remember -The Cakewalk.
Traditional fairground food was also plentiful. As well
as sweets, candy floss, chips and even curry (hardly traditional)
there were sausages, burgers, mushy peas and can't you just smell
those onions? The lady on the left serving food on this stall
was keen to point out she was seven months pregnant and her size
was not due to excessive tasting of the produce on sale!
All in all, the fair was enjoyed by the majority of people and
Ilkestonians are quite happy to have the town centre disrupted
for one week each October. The fair was still in full swing late
last night but as I write these notes on Sunday afternoon, the
streets are already clear and most of the showmen are on their
way to their next venue. Tomorrow, council workmen will be restoring
bollards on the Market Place, dismantled to allow access to the
fair lorries and soon, only the photos, digital images and memories
will remain until the 752nd Annual Charter Fair rolls back into
town next October for one of Europe's oldest and largest street