18 August 2014

Sheffield Fayre is back for 2014, but with a twist.

Traditionally held on August Bank Holiday weekend at Norfolk Heritage Park, the Fayre will have an exciting new look and feel this year.

The Fayre will have a new partnership taking it forward by focussing on the fantastic traditions of the fairground.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin is Head of Engagement at the University of Sheffield, but also Director and founder of the National Fairground Archive at the University of Sheffield Library and it is now 20 years since the Archives were first assembled.

Professor Toulmin and her unique sideshows have become a much loved feature of the Fayre over the past few years. This year will see the footprint of the Fayre turned on its head in response to public demand and appreciation of the Archives’ presence over the last few years.

The 2014 Fayre will mark the end of a decade of historic re-enactments in the park ‘bowl’ to make way for a ‘Merrie England Village’. This will feature the popular horticultural and craft tent, as well as an arena to showcase local dance and performing talents, along with traditional Fayre activities, such as morris dancing and maypoles.

The top section of the park will have a dedicated area for Professor Vanessa and her team to present the glorious talents and fun of the traditional fair.

“The re-enactments have proved hugely popular over the years,” said Marge Allen, Joint Chair of the Sheffield Fayre Committee. “However, we need to make sure the Fayre is future-proofed for years to come. We welcome this new partnership working with the University which has allowed us to change the footprint of the event, and hope that there’s something on offer for everyone. We are so excited about seeing the Fairground Archives come to life.”

As well as the sideshows and fairground archives, there will also be street performers keeping the crowds entertained across the Fayre, and a great selection of market stalls, food and drink outlets, and charity and community contributions. Previous years have seen interactive science experiments, flowers frozen in liquid nitrogen and learning activities made fun and accessible by the University’s student and outreach societies.
Professor Toulmin commented: “Sheffield Fayre is a fantastic tradition – one that we have been part of now for many years. My staff and students look forward to it and in fact we love it. I want every child and adult in the area to be delighted by the fun and entertainment we can bring – the history and tradition we can share.

“Every year I learn more about the history of this amazing city we are part of and it’s the highlight of our calendar. This year I want it to be bigger and better and I’m committed to making our 20th anniversary year a fun packed occasion at our favourite event.

“By working with the Friends and the Council, it will be an occasion to remember and also one to build on for future years to come. Where else will you see a girl swimming in a goldfish bowl, the amazing butterfly girl and see the fantastic sideshows of years gone by?”
Marge Allen added: “We know that some people will be disappointed that the re-enactments are not here this year, but our most important task is make sure this fantastic event keeps going and that the event remains free of charge to attend.

“This is a cherished city event and the National Fairground Archive will bring a huge amount to this year’s Fayre. We hope the people of Sheffield and our visitors from further afield embrace the changes, as we all look forward to yet another fabulous Fayre.”

Sheffield Fayre is presented and organised by Sheffield City Council in partnership with the Friends of Norfolk Heritage Park and The University of Sheffield Fairground Archive.

Councillor Isobel Bowler, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure said: “Sheffield Fayre is a great favourite for so many people – not just in this city, but from far and wide. We welcome this positive new partnership with the University of Sheffield which will help to increase the Fayre’s profile and appeal. This will help the Sheffield Fayre to continue to be one of the city’s most successful family events. I am really looking forward to attending the Fayre this year.”

The Fayre will be held on Sunday 24 and Monday 25 August from 10.30am to 5.30pm at Norfolk Heritage Park.

Enquiries for Traders who wish to attend the event should be emailed to Just.jules@ymail.com . Clubs or societies who feel they have something to offer the event should contact events@sheffield.gov.uk.

For further details see www.sheffield.gov.uk/norfolkheritagepark.

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For further information please contact Warwick Toone, Media Relations Officer on 0114 205 3546 or 07764 659182. E-mail: warwick.toone@sheffield.gov.uk. For out of office hours media enquiries ring 07711 153995.