Lancashire, Cheshire and North Wales Section
Administrative area: Lancashire, Cheshire, Conway, Gwynedd, Wrexham, Flintshire, Anglesey and the Isle of Man
The Lancashire Section prides itself on its rich heritage of fairs. Bury Fair, held during the first week in March, is one of three fairs once held in this town that stemmed from a charter of the late 15th century. Clitheroe in the Ribble Valley has two annual fairs of some antiquity, the first of them being held in March, the second in October.
Made famous by the work of the painter LS Lowry, the fair held on Good Friday at Daisy Nook, a beauty spot near Ashton-under-Lyne, is a reminder of the time when this day was the only holiday for millworkers apart from Christmas Day. The Easter weekend is also the occasion for a large fair at the former mill town of Blackburn, an event that dates back to the middle of the 18th century.
The Knutsford Royal May Day celebrations are supported by a substantial gathering of fairground attractions on the Heath, while a similar assembly on the riverside Little Roodee supports Chester Races that same week. Once held at Whitsuntide, the Flag Market Fair at Preston fills the town centre at the time of the spring bank holiday with amusements even being built up inside the capacious market hall.
Since the 18th century a fair has formed part of the celebrated Cartmel Races on the edge of the Lake District, a festival originally held on Whit Monday that now take place on the spring bank holiday. Wigan has two fairs both dating from the 13th century; the first in late May, the second in October.
Burnley St Peter’s Fair in July is one of many fairs in the cotton mill towns of Lancashire that owe their origin to local church festivals, ‘the Wakes’, that became industrial holidays. Local people gather, as they have done for over two hundred years, for their annual parade at the Buckley Jubilee Fair, held in July on the spacious common of this Flintshire town. The showmen cross to the Isle of Anglesey on 24 October for the one-day Menai Bridge Fair Borth, a fair that has filled the streets of the town since around 1680.
Christmas is marked at Wrexham with a fair that, by tradition, begins on 27 December. Bringing the old year to a close and welcoming in the next, Bolton New Year Fair is the continuation of the ancient Rughill Fair.