Every year, for the last 700+ years, Hull has experienced something quite astounding. For 10 days we get Europe’s biggest travelling fair stop off in our city, and it’s quite the event. Everyone knows that when it gets to September, before Halloween hits us, we get the fair, and it’s what we all look forward to.
Now, in my ageing years, the attraction of the Fair’s rides – I was never big on the rides anyway – but I still endeavour to go at least once out of the time it’s in the city. Tomorrow, marks the end of the 2016 stint of Hull Fair, but it will be back – it’s always back.
You’d think after so long, you’d be bored of going again and again to something that rarely changes. You might get one new ride, a new look vendor, and perhaps the creepy Santa men will not come out this year, but ultimately you know what you’re walking towards; and that’s the draw. Whether you go for the rides (I don’t), or you go for the atmosphere (I do), you know what you will encounter, and you know it will fill you with the sensation that Autumn is finally here!
It is, perhaps, the most difficult time to year to be able to park anywhere close, even if you live close to where it’s being held, and you have to face that you’ll be stuck in traffic if you’re heading in the direction of the fair, but nothing will discourage you from going.
When people ask what Hull has to offer, I’ll list the usual selling points, but I’ll always mention Hull Fair, and tell them to save themselves, if they wish to come to this city, until October is upon us, because that, to me and many others, is the best time of year.
You can see it for miles around as the search lights wave across clouds, and the closer you get, the more you’ll see the lights of the rides and the tallest pieces come into view. Approaching from Spring Bank, you’ll know you’ll see the carousel first, from Anlaby Road, you know it’s the stalls, the bratwurst grill and the chestnut guy. Want brandy snap, cinder toffee and a chocolate apple? You know you’ll find them down Walton Street. Something to eat half way through? Grab yourself a Bob Carvers – because it always taste better at the fair. Palm reading? The same woman who touched Barbara Windsor’s hands is there waiting for you. The big wheel, waltzers, dodgems, and hook-a-duck? It’s all there too.
You can not get yourself a better autumnal experience than what you have here at the fair. Wrap up, grab your money, surrender to the call of the screams, the rides and the atmosphere. Hull Fair is one of those things, you’re just going to have to experience yourself.