Thu, 15 Oct 2020
The organisers of Newbury's Michaelmas Fair have said they are disappointed that this year's event has been cancelled.
The London & Home Counties Section of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain added that they felt the fair could have been staged.
West Berkshire Council announced last week that the fair, to be held at Goldwell Park, would not be going ahead due to the risk of Covid-19 transmissions.
The Showmen's Guild of Great Britain said it was "saddened and disappointed" by the cancellation.
It said in a statement: "The Guild, in conjunction with its safety consultant, as well as the Environmental Health Office, was satisfied and confident that all Covid-19 security and safety measures in place were adequate to promote a safe and secure funfair.
"The indications were that these measures far exceeded those than any other businesses within the hospitality sector.
"The guild is now looking forward to presenting an even bigger, brighter Michaelmas Fair in October 2021."
The fair dates back to the 17th century when farm workers turned up to seek employment, but is now held as a funfair.
The guild has applied for "a small piece of funfair equipment, a juvenile ride to build up in the town centre to symbolize the Michaelmas Funfair, in order to maintain the heritage and protect the charter" today (October 15).
Explaining the council's decision, chairman of the Local Outbreak Control Board for West Berkshire, Howard Woollaston (Con, Lambourn) said: “Although the event is a time-honoured tradition in Newbury, we need to put the health and safety of the public first. According to Government Rule of Six guidelines, no one should mix in a group greater than six people.
“Following comprehensive assessments and advice from our Head of Public Health and Thames Valley Police, the council felt that the opportunities for ‘mingling’ between groups larger than six would be almost impossible to mitigate and manage, especially outside the venue. Therefore we regret to inform the public that the Newbury Michaelmas Fair will no longer be going ahead.”