Barnstaple hosts its traditional fair opening ceremony at the Guildhall

Barnstaple Fair is officially under way after its traditional proclamation ceremony at the Guildhall this morning (Wednesday).

Guests of Barnstaple Town Council gathered for the Proclamation of the Ancient Fair ceremony, served with traditional 'fairings' sweets and sherry.

The fair is once again on Seven Brethren and is open from now until Saturday night.

After a toast to 'The Queen', Tommy Charles of the Showman's Guild proposed a toast to 'Barnstaple Fair', saying: "The fair belongs to the people of Barnstaple, it's your fair, we are just privileged to come."

Reading the proclamation outside the Guildhall. Picture: Tony GussinReading the proclamation outside the Guildhall. Picture: Tony Gussin

There was a response from David Gayton of WS Gayton and Son Ltd, who said their business had been in the town for 107 years and the fair was a prominent event in its calendar.

Mr Gayton recalled how 2017 marks the 51st year since the fair moved to Seven Brethren from its former home at North Walk.

Graham Harrison, chairman of Webbers Estate Agents, proposed a toast to 'The Prosperity of Barnstaple' and Paul Crockett of The Voice FM responded.

Toasting 'Our Guests', Barnstaple mayor Julie Hunt said the fair had offered '100 years of frivolity, frolics and fun'.

Barnstaple mayor Julie Hunt enjoys the weather. Picture: Tony GussinBarnstaple mayor Julie Hunt enjoys the weather. Picture: Tony Gussin

She thanked the Showman's Guild and said every year it went the extra mile, making the fair available to children and adults with special needs.

Mrs Hunt also thanked the many North Devon mayors - 'the chain gang' - in attendance and town council staff, as well as welcoming all the others in attendance.

There were also special guests in the form of visitors from Barnstaple's twin town of Harstad in Norway, including the mayor, Maria Fjellstad.

After the ceremony the ancient fair proclamation was read out by town clerk Will Austin outside the Guildhall, before councillors and guests made a procession along the High Street, with the proclamation read out twice more.

The procession makes its way along Barnstaple High STreet. Picture: Tony GussinThe procession makes its way along Barnstaple High STreet. Picture: Tony Gussin

After a luncheon at the Barnstaple Hotel everybody headed over to enjoy all the fun of the fair.

Fair week concludes on Saturday with the 71st Barnstaple Carnival plus fireworks over the riverside.

David Hunt, Henry Andersen, Harstad mayor Maria Fjellstad and daughter Nora, Barnstaple mayor Julie Hunt and Halvard Bakklund. Picture: Tony GussinDavid Hunt, Henry Andersen, Harstad mayor Maria Fjellstad and daughter Nora, Barnstaple mayor Julie Hunt and Halvard Bakklund. Picture: Tony Gussin