This year’s Appleby Horse fair will go ahead on 5-11 June after the local district council in Cumbria agreed to set up a limited company to run the event.
Recent problems with the event’s organisation, safety record and the knock on effects of FMD had led to speculation about thisyear’s event being cancelled, but Eden District Council has ensured its survival.
This immensely popular historical fair attracts nearly 30,000 visitors annually and its possible cancellation sparked a huge protest.
Steeped in tradition, the fair has its critics who believe it damages the surrounding area both physically and economically. Some of the local shops close for the duration of the fair to avoid the perceived risks associated with the fair and to avoid employing extra staff.
The limited company is in the process of being funded and set-up and will deal with improving relations between locals and visitors, as well as minimising the impact of the event on the surrounding area.
Those involved with running Appleby Horse Fair have visited horse fairs in Ireland to experience first-hand how events such as this are run, as well as how to make the event a profitable affair.
Improvements will be gradual but the local tourist board are confident that it will be a success. Tourist information manager Jenni Hogg said: “Things won’t just happen over night but I think this year’s fair will be bigger and better than ever before.
“In January alone we received over 300 calls enquiring about when it would be taking place. It seems that the threat of its cancellation has prompted even more interest from potential visitors around the world.”
About Appleby Horse Fair
Appleby Fair, is held each June in the town of Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, and has existed since 1685 under the protection of a charter granted by James II.
The fair survived a previous attempt to close it in 1965 by Westmorland Borough Council.
It is a key meeting point for the romany, gypsy and travelling community as well as an important trading venue for buyers and sellers of horses.
It is a tradition that the horses are taken down to the river and bathed using washing up liquid – to the annoyance of the local anglers. Local shops have to buy in extra bottles to meet the demand.