Come a walk around Nottingham Goose Fair with me

Saturday evening and it’s the last night of the Nottingham Goose Fair 2009. My partner Melanie and I decided to make the short journey to the old travelling funfair, now, almost unbelievably, in it’s 715th year. Like many profess to, we just went for a walk around, to take in the sights, smells and atmosphere of the huge event.

It’s seldom I’ve visited the fair in the past few years and one change that is noticeable is the lack of the old sideshows which were very much the essence of Goose Fair for me. Attractions such as the Boxing Booth, where local worthies would get up to challenge travelling fighters are sadly missed. ‘Mouse Town’, which is fairly self-descriptive and wonder to us kids, is no more either. Other omissions might well be down to the more easily breached sensibilities of 2009. It’s hard to imagine a giant Scotsman being allowed for people to gawp at, nor a ‘bearded lady’ for that matter.


The children love it all of course and even in these days of sophisticated X-Boxes and other high-tech amusements, it’s good to see that same wide-eyed wonder that I probably had all those years ago when I was their age.

It’s important to leave a little space in your stomach for a taste of the fair I always think and I have to say I was very restrained on this visit. I had a tub of the traditional mushy peas with a large splash of mint sauce as well – lovely! I managed to forego other such delicacies as Brandy Snaps, Candyfloss and the vast array of fudge on show. Curiously the foodstuff perhaps most synonymous with Goose Fair – toffee apples were nowhere to be seen. Another point, where my seafood? Maybe these have been replaced with the smattering of noodle concessions, posh coffee vans and Panini bars that seem to have sprung up.


The Forest Recreation ground where Goose Fair is held is very handy for the main arterial Mansfield Road which leads straight up and over into the city. It houses one or two excellent pubs and is something of a traditional ‘crawl’ who prefer the relative sanity of its public houses to some of those in the centre of Nottingham. Last evening after the Fair, Mel and I wandered along to Fade Bar or The Hard to Find Cafe to quote it’s other name. It’s an interesting old building with a nice mixed clientele and good quality and varied drinks. The conservatory area is a great addition to this pub/cafe and is nicely atmospheric. I tried a pint of the excellent Aspells cider from Suffolk and an equally tasty pint of Erdinger Weissbier. Happily, one of my favourite Nottingham hostelries is but a few yards from the front door of The Hard to Find… and what better conclusion to a typical Nottingham Goose Fair night than a pint in The Lincolnshire Poacher with its fine ales, quality continental lagers and friendly surroundings. Roll on the first weekend in October 2010…

Why not come along with me now for a walk on the Fair…



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…and away! Reverse Bungee!





Mel enjoying the Fun of the Fair








Nottingham Goose Fair 2009

5 thoughts on “Come a walk around Nottingham Goose Fair with me”

  1. Has to be 30+ years since I last had a trip round the fair.
    There was always that unique atmosphere about the place,thanks’ for the post Stu,


    You know that certain time of year, when all you need do is sniff the
    air, and coconuts in the shops appear? .
    …that’s right, it’s time for the old Goosefair!
    Jig saw bits gaudily painted,
    head for the site to get reacquainted,
    goodies and baddies, beggars and sainted .
    …..for 700 years they’ve gathered to say….
    Come to the old Goosefair.

    Stand on the hill and look into the night,
    hear the screams of pleasurable fright,
    The whole of the Forests blazes with light
    ….all hail to the old Goosefair!
    The barkers vans stand side by side,
    their home’s wherever the Gypsies bide.
    Smart and tidy, testament to pride .
    ….the lure of the Nottingham fair kids
    Come to the old Goosefair!

    There’s a market runs along the top,
    of pots and pans they’ve got the lot
    Whether you really need them or not
    …. they’re part of the old Goosefair!
    Is that a beer tent I deduce,
    where you can get your favoured juice,
    buy anything…. except a goose,
    here at the Nottingham fair lads
    Come to the old Goosefair!

    “Roll up roll up and try your luck!
    Two balls in a bucket try to chuck,
    Or have a go on the hook a duck!”
    ….there’s fun at the old Goosefair. A ride on the dodgems tests your nerve,
    you thunder along bump and swerve
    Try to avoid and twist and curve,
    ……thrills at the Nottingham fair friends
    Come to the old Goosefair!

    A pretty lass a gypsies beguiled,
    on the waltzer he spins her wild,
    she seems to me little more than a child….
    there’s love at the old Goosefair.
    Stand beneath the Ferris wheel,
    listen to the riders squeal,
    you really do have nerves of steel
    … ride at the Nottingham fair teens!
    Come to the old Goosefair!

    See the double jointed lady,
    or hit the dartboard bulls-eye maybe
    and win a teddy for next doors baby
    ….there’s skill at the old Goosefair. Sit on the helter skelter mat,
    hang onto your ‘Kiss me!’ hat,
    did you really pay five quid for that?
    …..robbed at the Nottingham fair pals
    Come to the old Goosefair.

    “Two little ducks are twenty two”
    the bingo barker calls to you,
    its somewhere to rest when you’re 72
    ….tired bones at the old Goosefair.
    The noise is a cacophony of song,
    you’re pushed and shoved by the throng,
    grab a ride as you roll along
    …..dizzy at the Nottingham fair mates
    Come to the old Goosefair!

    Fortunes told by Gypsy Rose Lee,
    she crooks her finger and points to me,
    I don’t wanna know what my future will be
    ….mystery at the old Goosefair.
    Go on be tempted as you pass,
    the sideshow with the bearded lass
    Gawp with the others as they mass,
    gog eyed at the Nottingham Fair grandpa.
    Come to the old Goosefair!

    Candy floss spun to a peak,
    fresh toffee apples crisp and sweet
    hot dogs, mushy peas, lots to eat
    ….watch your weight at the old Goosefair.
    A lost balloon in the darkening sky,
    folk start to leave and a kid cries why?
    Mam says it’s time to say goodbye
    …..this year to the Nottingham fair pet!
    Come to the old Goosefair!

    That girl waits by his caravan door ,
    she’s clearly smitten and wanting more
    I hope not more than she bargained for
    ….there’s danger at the old Goosefair.
    By morning light they’ve all moved on,
    the sideshows and the rides have gone
    even of litter there is none …..
    nowt left of the old Goosefair now,
    farewell to the old Goosefair..

  3. My grandad Walter rankine was a bare knuckle fighter in the boxing booths at goose fair Nottingham have you any information or pictures of him thank you our family would be very grateful

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