Banbury’s town centre will soon be unrecognisable as bright lights and exhilarating thrill rides take over for the annual Michaelmas Fair.
The historic three-day event will be officially opened at 4pm on Wednesday, October 19, when the giant Golden Key is presented to the town by a member of the Wilson family, who own the fair.
Upon accepting the key, Cherwell District Council chairman Councillor Chris Heath and Banbury Town Mayor Gordon Ross will then tour around the fairground, granting a free go on any ride which is touched by the key.
Cllr Heath said: “It may be one of the Banbury’s oldest and most historic traditions but it remains one of the most popular so it is a privilege to be able to receive the Golden Key this year.
“The fun of the fair spans generations from little ones dazzled by the lights; youngsters testing their nerve on the rides and adults who simply stroll around the attractions reliving their own happy childhood memories of the fair.”
The return of the fair will once again bring the usual array of food stalls, games and rides. Visitors can enjoy traditional treats including candy floss and toffee apples or try to win a prize on stalls including the coconut shy or hook-a-duck.
There is plenty to keep the younger children entertained such as the merry-go-round, carousel or cup and saucers while thrillseekers can brave bigger rides including the Miami, Superbowl or Waltzers.
Cllr Ross said: “The fair has been a chartered tradition in Banbury for more than 400 years and remains as popular now as it was back then.
“Each year thousands of people turn out to enjoy the attractions and atmosphere in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. For the town council, it remains a key date in our busy programme of events and we look forward to officially opening the event on 19 October.”
Away from the excitement and on a more pragmatic note the fairs arrival on Tuesday, October 18 will cause some road and car park closures. Road closures and car parks affected by the fair will be closed from Tuesday, 18 October until the fair departs. Banbury market will not operate on Thursday, 20 October but will return as normal on Saturday, 22 October.
The fair will be primarily located in Horsefair, North Bar, Market Place and Bridge Street and will leave the town late on the evening of Friday, October 21.