100,000 revellers expected to make merry at St Giles’ Fair

Last year’s fair attracted huge crowds

Last year’s fair attracted huge crowds

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Didcot and Wallingford. Call me on 01865 425425

PREPARATIONS are under way for up to 100,000 revellers to enjoy Oxford’s St Giles’ Fair.

The fair – which will see St Giles closed to traffic for three days from midnight on Saturday will be officially opened by Lord Mayor Mohammed Abbasi on Monday.

And there are warnings that the historic two-day fair will bring in extra people on Monday when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are scheduled to arrive for a visit to the new China Centre at Oxford University’s St Hugh’s College.

The fair in 2012, when more than 60,000 people attended on the Monday, was the busiest in memory, according to Oxford City Council, due to good weather and the fact that youngsters were still on their summer holidays.

Mr Abbasi said: “I’m looking forward to opening the fair — it’s a great Oxford tradition.”

In 1930, Wantage poet laureate Sir John Betjeman described it as “about the biggest fair in England”.

St Giles, Magdalen Street East and West and other roads in the area will be closed from midnight on Saturday until 8.30am on Wednesday and diversions will be in place.

The main diversion route for through traffic in both directions will be Worcester Street, Walton Street, Kingston Road and St Margaret’s Road.

The city council’s fair coordinator Mike Newman said: “The big rides will be much the same as last year with Air returning and a new one called Star Flyer.”

Oxford Bus Company will divert buses from Sunday until Wednesday.

The City 2, 6 and park and ride 500 services out of Oxford will start from a temporary bus stop on Broad Street outside Blackwell’s bookstore, while inbound services will terminate in Broad Street. Those services, as well as the park and ride 300 service, will be diverted via Parks Road and St Margaret’s Road to avoid St Giles.

The park and ride 300 service will use stop B2 in George Street outside the New Theatre for passengers heading towards Pear Tree.The annual blessing service for St Giles’ Fair will take place at 5.30pm on Sundayin front of St John’s College.

ST GILES’ FAIR THROUGH THE AGES

St Giles’ fair dates back to 1625, when a parish festival to mark the feast of St Giles was created.

By the 18th century it had become a toy fair, while in the early 19th century it was a children’s fair.

Since the 19th century, the fair has been held on the Monday and Tuesday following the first Sunday after St Giles’ Day.

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Comments (5)

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8:07am Thu 4 Sep 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

I have a hunch there'll be a lot less than 100,000 attending, there may be that many wanting to attend, but half of them will be stuck in traffic at various locations around Oxford.
I have a hunch there'll be a lot less than 100,000 attending, there may be that many wanting to attend, but half of them will be stuck in traffic at various locations around Oxford. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 3

8:49am Thu 4 Sep 14

carli says...

oh god it's not that time of year again???? St Giles fair is horrible. Tacky and very expensive. I double 100,000 people will attend.
oh god it's not that time of year again???? St Giles fair is horrible. Tacky and very expensive. I double 100,000 people will attend. carli
  • Score: -5

11:31am Thu 4 Sep 14

oxfordgirl1974 says...

carli wrote:
oh god it's not that time of year again???? St Giles fair is horrible. Tacky and very expensive. I double 100,000 people will attend.
How miserable you sound! It's a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. You may think it's tacky and very expensive, but lots of people don't. Don't go into town on those 2 days if it bothers you that much!!!
[quote][p][bold]carli[/bold] wrote: oh god it's not that time of year again???? St Giles fair is horrible. Tacky and very expensive. I double 100,000 people will attend.[/p][/quote]How miserable you sound! It's a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. You may think it's tacky and very expensive, but lots of people don't. Don't go into town on those 2 days if it bothers you that much!!! oxfordgirl1974
  • Score: 6

12:37pm Thu 4 Sep 14

carli says...

oxfordgirl1974 wrote:
carli wrote:
oh god it's not that time of year again???? St Giles fair is horrible. Tacky and very expensive. I double 100,000 people will attend.
How miserable you sound! It's a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. You may think it's tacky and very expensive, but lots of people don't. Don't go into town on those 2 days if it bothers you that much!!!
sorry I spoke......
[quote][p][bold]oxfordgirl1974[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]carli[/bold] wrote: oh god it's not that time of year again???? St Giles fair is horrible. Tacky and very expensive. I double 100,000 people will attend.[/p][/quote]How miserable you sound! It's a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. You may think it's tacky and very expensive, but lots of people don't. Don't go into town on those 2 days if it bothers you that much!!![/p][/quote]sorry I spoke...... carli
  • Score: -2

12:04am Fri 5 Sep 14

mrdroll says...

oxfordgirl1974 wrote:
carli wrote:
oh god it's not that time of year again???? St Giles fair is horrible. Tacky and very expensive. I double 100,000 people will attend.
How miserable you sound! It's a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. You may think it's tacky and very expensive, but lots of people don't. Don't go into town on those 2 days if it bothers you that much!!!
Hmmmm so we've been allowing the tramps to rip off the public for hundreds of years??? don't suppose the High st will be opened to relieve the congestion??? didn't think so.
[quote][p][bold]oxfordgirl1974[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]carli[/bold] wrote: oh god it's not that time of year again???? St Giles fair is horrible. Tacky and very expensive. I double 100,000 people will attend.[/p][/quote]How miserable you sound! It's a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. You may think it's tacky and very expensive, but lots of people don't. Don't go into town on those 2 days if it bothers you that much!!![/p][/quote]Hmmmm so we've been allowing the tramps to rip off the public for hundreds of years??? don't suppose the High st will be opened to relieve the congestion??? didn't think so. mrdroll
  • Score: 1
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