The fair was opened this morning (Wednesday) with its traditional ceremony, including a procession through town.

Barnstaple fair was officially opened this morning (Wednesday) with its traditional proclamation ceremony.

Town councillors and special guests filled the town's Guildhall as town clerk Will Austin and mayor Julie Hunt opened this year's event.

Mrs Hunt said opening the fair was 'one of the most enjoyable duties for the mayor of Barnstaple'.

The traditional opening of Barnstaple Fair took place this morning (Wednesday). Picture: Matt SmartThe traditional opening of Barnstaple Fair took place this morning (Wednesday). Picture: Matt Smart

She eluded to the potential development at Seven Brethren, the site where the fair has been held for the past 50 years.

"Any development to Seven Brethren will not undermine that relationship and our commitment to finding a suitable site to replace it," she said.

"I am sure our colleagues at North Devon District Council will not develop Seven Brethren without helping us find a suitable site for the fair."

The traditional opening of Barnstaple Fair took place this morning (Wednesday). Picture: Matt SmartThe traditional opening of Barnstaple Fair took place this morning (Wednesday). Picture: Matt Smart

After proceedings were opened with the traditonal toast to The Queen, Lawrence Appleton of the Showmen's Guild proposed a toast to Barnstaple Fair.

Mr Appleton said: "I go to lots of fairs up and down the country and this Barnstaple opening is one of the finest."

After his proposal was seconded by ITV's Seth Conway, town centre manager Hannah Harrington proposed a toast to Barnstaple's prosperity.

The traditional opening of Barnstaple Fair took place this morning (Wednesday). Picture: Matt SmartThe traditional opening of Barnstaple Fair took place this morning (Wednesday). Picture: Matt Smart

Mrs Harrington spoke of how Barnstaple should be proud of its 'history, fair, trade and commerce'.

She said: "Today is a great demonstration of everyone working together to celebrate what is great about Barnstaple."

Her toast was seconded by Petroc principal Diane Dimond.

Mrs Hunts speech was followed by a response from Mr Tim Gilbert, pastor of Barnstaple's Grosvenor Church.

Mr Austin then read the proclamation before the traditional procession from the Guildhall towards the Square before circling back to the Strand.

Barnstaple fair runs until Saturday.