Town mayor gets Banbury's historic Michaelmas Fair underway for four days of fun
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The mayor was joined by chairman of Cherwell District Council Les Sibley at 4pm to open the popular fair in the town centre.
This year marks the first time in living memory that the fair, which is thought to date back to 1554, has been extended until Saturday.
Mayor Fiaz Ahmed and Cllr Les Sibley kept in line with tradition and toured the amusements with a golden key, giving free rides to excited children.
Cllr Ahmed said: “Every ride we touch with the golden key gives a free ride, and it is very special seeing the kids’ faces as they enjoy the fun. I had a fabulous time exploring the fair and choosing the free rides.”
“The fair never seems to lose its magnetism, and the crowds here tonight show how popular it is.”
The extended fair comes after a request by William Wilson, boss of Bob Wilson Funfairs, the organisers of the event, and follows consultation meetings with Banbury Town Council, Castle Quay, Thames Valley Police, and Banbury BID.
Cllr Les Sibley said: “Opening the fair on Saturday will allow more families to enjoy the rides and sideshows and bring more visitors into the town centre. There are many people who, for various reasons, can’t come to town on weekdays but can at weekends.
“We will review the experiment later to evaluate the response and impact of the extra day, and we will decide then if four days will become the norm.”
Banbury Market will take place as normal on Saturday morning, with stalls set up on Broad Street.