Barnstaple Fair set to return for 2021 - 'May the show go on!'

Barnstaple Fair in full swing at Seven Brethren. Picture: Andy Keeble

Barnstaple Fair in full swing at Seven Brethren. Picture: Andy Keeble - Credit: Archant

After a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic Barnstaple Fair is back on the calendar for 2021

The fair will open on Wednesday, September 15, and runs through to Saturday, September 18.

Mayor Alan Rennles announced, on behalf of Barnstaple Town Council, that there will be a fair this September on Seven Brethren but it has to be reduced in size this year due to the need to retain the Covid testing and vaccination facilities.  

Mayor Rennles said: “On behalf of the town council and the community of North Devon I’d like to say a huge thank you to all who have made it possible, especially the Showmen’s Guild Western Section. After losing our traditional fair last year due to the pandemic this really is great news for Barnstaple and North Devon.

“We can’t wait to welcome the fair this September and for everyone to be able to enjoy this long-held tradition in our town once again after a long hiatus due to Covid.


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“There’s been all sorts of obstacles that we’ve had to overcome this year but it’s happening and I’m so delighted to be able to make this announcement at long last. May the show go on!”

The Barnstaple Fair Proclamation Ceremony 2019

The Barnstaple Fair Proclamation Ceremony 2019 - Credit: Matt Smart

Nearly 1,000 years of history go to make up the annual Barnstaple Fair, and for hundreds of years there has been the traditional Barnstaple Fair Proclamation Ceremony at Barnstaple Guildhall.

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This announces the opening of the fair, welcoming it to the town and includes four toasts; ‘to the Queen, Barnstaple Fair, the Prosperity of Barnstaple and our Guests’. Then the reading of the historic proclamation by the town clerk takes place, a tradition that will be repeated this year.

People can listen to the proceedings outside the Guildhall from 11am and then join the procession around the town centre from midday where the proclamation is repeated three times at different locations around the town.

The ‘hand of friendship’ appears from the upstairs window of the Guildhall as the proclamation is read and remains in place until the following Monday after the fair has left the town.  The glove signals the opening of the fair and welcomes everyone to Barnstaple.

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