BUSINESSES have welcomed back the longest street fair in Europe in Abingdon this week.

Abingdon Michaelmas Fair, which runs from the Market Place, through the High Street, The Square and the full length of Ock Street, returned on Monday, October 10 and Tuesday, October 11.

The historic street fair started following the shortage of labour due to the Black Death, the fair was a hiring fair and the equivalent of job websites and employment agencies today.

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It was unable to run in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic so when it returned last year crowds flocked to the town to enjoy fairground rides, candyfloss and games.

Oxford Mail: Abingdon Michaelmas FairAbingdon Michaelmas Fair (Image: Ed Nix)

Large crowds attended the event again this year giving businesses dotted along the length of the fair a welcomed boost in trade.

Ryan Baldwin, bar manager at The Brewery Tap in Ock Street, said the pub had been busy as it is located in the middle of the event.

“I don’t mind the fair,” he said. “It means we stay busy and it’s nice to have the guys from the fair in here often.

“They seem to have fun and spend money so there is nothing to complain about. We’re right in the middle so people come in to use the toilets or to grab a quick beer so we haven’t got any issues.

“It’s a bit of a boost for trade and the guys from the fair have been drinking in here for years so it’s nice.”

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Teodora Atanasova, who owns Dorindo’s Mexican Restaurant in High Street, has been running a pop-up stall outside the store for about seven years.

She said: “We’ve had some great evenings and sold out of everything – it was good fun. We get to see most of our regulars as well which is great so it’s really nice and the weather was great as well.”

Oxford Mail: Abingdon Michaelmas FairAbingdon Michaelmas Fair (Image: n/a)

Mayor of Abingdon Andy Foulsham said it was ‘pleasure’ to see the fair return and praised the Bob Wilson’s Funfair team for their efforts.

“The fair is a long-standing favourite of everybody in Abingdon,” he said. “We are all so pleased to see them come back.

“It’s the longest street fair in Europe so it’s great. I know there is traffic disruption but there always is with things like this.

“However the team works really hard and is very accomplished at redirecting traffic and making sure people can get through if they need to.

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“The outdoor team at the council has been fantastic and puts in extra hours in the week to make sure everything is cleared away after Tuesday and overall it’s just great to have the fair back.”


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This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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