THE countdown is on to one of the oldest and most spectacular street fairs in Europe – and residents in Ilkeston have been warned to brace for the usual road closures.
While Nottingham’s more famous Goose Fair has long been consigned to an often muddy field, Ilkeston’s vast extravaganza continues to take over the entire town centre.
Packed streets play host to candyfloss stalls and towering thrill rides that dwarf almost every building. Only the iconic St Mary’s church rises above the sights and sounds that lure fun-seekers from across the country and beyond.
Townsfolk are proud that the ancient spectacular is even older than Nottingham’s – dating back to 1252 when King Henry III granted a charter for it to be held.
Erewash Borough Council spends months preparing for the event. The authority’s Lead Member for Community Engagement Councillor Becca Everett said:
“The fair is a highlight of the borough’s calendar and thanks to our personnel working tirelessly it is an annual spectacle that we believe knocks the Goose Fair into a cocked hat for family fun.
“If you are from outside the town and have never been before – get yourself to Ilkeston for the time of your life. But don’t forget – parking is at a premium so we recommend using the rail station or catching a bus.”
The 771st Ilkeston Charter Fair runs from Wednesday 18 October when it kicks off at 6pm. It continues from 12 noon to 11pm for three more days until Saturday 21 October. It is free to walk around.
The official opening is on the Thursday – 19 October – at a ceremony where crowds will gather at 11.15am to hear the charter read out in front of the town hall. Mayor of Erewash Councillor Frank Phillips will ring a bell to signal the revels. The Mayor – in full regalia including the chain of office – then usually heads for the dodgems.
The road closures will be in place from 5am on Tuesday 17 October to allow the fair to set up. They will remain until noon on Sunday 22 October.
The entire Market Place will be closed, along with South Street to its junction with Gladstone Street West. Gladstone Street is usually one-way traffic but will operate a two-way system.
Bath Street will be shut as far as its junction with Wilmot Street. The tops of East Street, Pimlico, Burns Street and Market Street will be no-go to traffic – as will all of Queen Street. St Mary Street is also affected, while Wharncliffe Road will be shut from its junction with Albert Street. Residents’ parking bays will be suspended.
Some deliveries to local businesses will be allowed until 11am. But buses will use the same one-way diversions that have been in place for the past four years. Full details are being posted on the Erewash Borough Council website.
Bin days will be altered for some residents. Those affected should have already received letters.
Police will help enforce the road closures and ensure everything runs smoothly. They will be joined by Security and Neighbourhood Wardens acting as marshals.