THE HISTORIC Mop Fair is preparing to light up Stratford’s skyline.
The annual street fair – which was cancelled last year due to the pandemic – will be rolling into town on Monday and Tuesday October 11 and 12.
And this year it promises attractions old and new – from an 127-year-old Golden Carousel to a thrill-seeking ride known as Space.
It also aims to honour its 14th century roots when it was attended by landowners around Warwickshire to meet prospective workers after the Black Death had decimated the population.
Labourers would attend with a mop to signal their skills lending the event its eponymous name.
Now – in the wake of the Covid pandemic – the first ever ‘Job and Apprenticeship Fair’ will be held at the Stratford Playhouse in Rother Street on Tuesday October 12, to attract workers to fill shortages in the hospitality and leisure industries in the district, as well as other sectors.
Major employers including Royal Shakespeare Company, Orbit Housing and Coventry Building Society will be at the event, organised by Stratford District Council (SDC).
Stratford also has an associated ‘Runaway Mop’ which takes place two weeks later on Friday and Saturday October 22 and 23. This tradition stems from the need for employers to reconsider and re-hire any staff before committing to a full year’s work.
SDC tourism spokesman Coun Matt Jennings said: “The fact that we have had enquiries from all sorts of organisations beyond those looking to fill hospitality and supply chain roles shows that the skills shortage extends to variety of sectors, and our presence at the Mop Fair is one way we are hoping to respond to this issue.
“By bringing together such a varied group we hope that we can help to put as many people as possible in touch with potential employers, so it will be worth coming along for anyone in search of employment or simply a change of career.
“There will be representatives from a range of sectors including education, nursing and care, as well as local bars, restaurants and hotels, with voluntary organisations and apprenticeship schemes also looking for new personnel.
“We are hoping to match this excellent interest from businesses with a great showing from the people of Stratford and anyone in the wider region thinking about their next step or looking to get back into work.”
Anyone looking to take part or for further information can email email@example.com.
Residents are also reminded a number of town centre streets will be closed during the event.
Visit www.stratford.gov.uk/parking-roads-transport/car-parks.cfm for more details.