THE MOP Fair has finally fallen prey to pandemic precautions, after pressure mounted to call it off.
Stratford District Council announced the decision to postpone the fair this year, which was due to take place in October.
SDC councillor Ian Shenton said: “This is a regrettable though inevitable decision with our primary concern for public well-being. The decision to hold this year’s Mop Fairs in Stratford-upon-Avon in October was already under review due to the pandemic. However, in light of recent government announcements and the ongoing public health emergency, the district council together with Bob Wilson’s Funfair has decided to postpone this year’s Mop Fairs.”
Fair provider Bob’s Fun Fair said necessary measures would have been in place but there were concerns around the volume of crowds flocking to the fair.
Spokesman Willie Wilson explained: “We had put in place necessary measures to enable the Mop to go ahead, including social distancing and extra hygiene precautions.
“However, one element neither the district council nor ourselves can easily control is the number of people entering the town centre and, since public safety is the number one concern, we have taken the decision to postpone the Mop Fairs for this year. To defer an institution that has been part of the fabric of the town for centuries has not been an easy decision. We know many people will be disappointed and showmen have suffered a severe loss of livelihood in the current crisis, but we know this is the right decision.”
The historic fair, holds a unique status as a ‘statute fair’. It is governed under the Fairs and Markets Act of 1847, meaning it reserves the right to occur every year. The Mop began in 1544 in and traditionally was held for employees to hire those looking for work, alongside a fairground. Those without a trade were encouraged to bring a mop to indicate they needed work.
In order that the tradition of the statute is maintained and in recognition of the fair’s ancient charter, a small ride will be placed on Rother Market near the American Fountain on Monday October 12 at 11am.
The decision follows the cancellation of the town’s popular Victorian Christmas Fair which has seen visitors grow in number every year.