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…
…and away! Reverse Bungee!
Mel enjoying the Fun of the Fair
Nottingham Goose Fair 2009