Michaelmas festivities – late this year

Street Fair
This blog often receives comments about the traditional Abingdon Street Fair.

Some commenters argues that it causes disruption and should be put somewhere less disruptive – like in a field outside the town centre. Other people comment, ironically, that it is the only time when the Abingdon traffic system works.

But this year I got a different complaint – NOT that the fair is in the wrong place, BUT that the fair is on the wrong date.

An Abingdonian – born and bred – argued that the Abingdon Street Fair is also the traditional Abingdon Michaelmas Fair. Michaelmas – the Feast of Saints Michael the Archangel – falls on 29th September. So the Fair should be on the Monday and Tuesday after Michaelmas – not a week later.

So are we in Abingdon taking the Michaelmas festivities too far from their traditional meaning?

16 thoughts on “Michaelmas festivities – late this year

  1. Sarah

    I had always understood the fair to be on the Monday and Tuesday after the first Sunday in October. So, yes–iIt would appear to be a week late.

  2. Iain

    If you take a look at the town council website you’ll see that the Town Clerk has issued some helpful clarification around the dates and tgeir traditional precedence

  3. davidofabingdon

    “The Council has received a number of queries regarding the dates of the Fair. The ancient rights of the Fairs are established in law under the Oxfordshire Act 1985. This sets the date of the Michaelmas Fair as the “Monday falling next before 11th October and on the following Tuesday.” This year the 11th October is a Tuesday, therefore the dates of the Fair are Monday 10th and Tuesday 11th October. This is the latest date the Michaelmas Fair can be held, and in recent years these were the dates for 2005 and 1994.”

    So that sorts that out then.

  4. dan

    this annoys me too.
    the same with fireworks night, when i was young, we celebrated this regardless of the day the 5th fell upon. though this year should be all on date as the 5th lands on a Saturday. sorry for going off on one, but im a traditionalist.

    so today im going to walk up ock street in the middle of the road as if there should be a fair there.

    (joke, ill only get run over

  5. helen

    Where I grew up the annual fair was on the Monday after the 1st Sunday after Michaelmas – which caused confusion when Michaelmas fell on a Sunday.

  6. the color climax corporation

    bet if you wished 99% of people attending the fair a happy michaelmas they would look at you as if you were a nutter.

  7. alison

    I was born in abingdon on Sunday 2nd October and the fair was on the Monday and Tuesday following. So true to the saying the first Monday in October after the first Sunday but the Sunday could not be the 1st. So personally I blame the council, who else? they have mucked up much of the town, so why not this?

  8. Iain

    My kids are really excited and frankly couldn’t give a monkey’s about the date.

    They’re much more interested in which of the many rides they enjoyed last year will be here. Would the traditionalists agree to participate if I asked the organisers to add a ‘catch the oiled pig’ competition or something similar?

  9. the color climax corporation

    i’m convinced they had better rides in the past – when i first moved to abingdon the ‘ zipper ‘ was a delight to behold – an evil looking contraption.
    nowadays the st giles fair seems to offer more.

  10. Iain

    There’s a huge thing who’s name escapes me that gives me the willeys when I look at it out of the window – I think it’s a pretty impressive street fair – although I must admit I will be avoiding being whizzed around on anything that looks like it belongs in an astronaut training centre – I’ll be sticking to the dogems 🙂

  11. Phil


    This year with Abingdon appearing in the 2nd week, Abingdon or Stratford-upon-Avon with suffer in their ride selections. Both fairs are hosted by Bob Wilsons Funfairs.

    Last year both fairs, from memory, had the roughly the same rides attend both fairs.

    Willie Wilson’s – Storm Booster
    William Robert Wilson’s – Superbowl Touchdown
    Billy Hebborn’s – Super Waltzer
    Morris Amusements’s – Power Shot Reverse Bungee
    William Sheldon’s – Twister Twist
    Tim Booth’s – Musik Express Matterhorn
    Tommy Wilson’s – Dance & Smile Jump & Smile
    Maryanne Benson’s – Body Count Super Star
    Woodford Family’s – Gallopers
    Steven Hill’s – Miami Trip 3 Miami

    This was fine last year as Stratford started a week after Abingdon. This year, Stratford starts on the Tuesday 11th… Clearly some rides will still be open in Abingdon.

    Had Abingdon been on 3rd and 4th this year, this issue would not have raised itself. Also, the rides could have pulled down from Abingdon, moved to Nottingham for the Goose fair over night and built up on the Wednesday.

    Anyway, less than 24 hours will tell what attractions Abingdon is due to receive this year.

    With work being carried out on the Museum, this removed the plot where Maryanne Benson’s Body Count Super Star sits. With the addition of the pulic house at the bottom of Ock Street having work carried out recently this may remove this plot too… Which isn’t that much on an issue as Tim Booth has sold his Musik Express Matterhorn.


  12. abingdonresident

    Why is the fair not in the weekend ? This would far less disruption and would attract a lot more people.


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