Weekend of fun promised at Downton Cuckoo Fair

Downton Cuckoo Fair returns on 29 April. The famous fair offers a wide range of activities for all the family, including rural craft demonstrations, Punch and Judy shows, clowns, fairground attractions and street entertainers.

More traditional entertainment includes a 40-foot maypole, Morris and other traditional dancers, plus the crowning of the Cuckoo Fair princess. The princess must either live within the parish boundary or attend a local school. Although there used to be a Cuckoo Fair prince, difficulties with recruiting suitable candidates meant that this tradition didn’t last.

Music comes from the Downton Brass Band, as well as a host of live bands performing in a number of venues, including the Memorial Gardens where the majority of the events take place.

A wide selection of food and refreshments will be on offer, as well as a produce market, which will be held in the car park behind Co-Op.

Car parks for visitors will be run by voluntary organisations and charities, with the option of a park and ride service available from the Barford Lane car park. All proceeds from the car parks are ploughed into meeting the costs of hosting the fair.

In its current format, the Cuckoo Fair has been held in Downton for more than a quarter of a century, regularly attracting 20,000 to the village.

However, fairs were first recorded in 1249 and 1289. Although these early fairs didn’t last, in 1676 during the reign of King Charles II, two annual fairs were granted, one in April, the other in September.

The First World War saw the end of the fair until it was revived in 1979.

The fair opens at 10am and closes at 4.30pm, car parks are £7.

A full list of entertainment can be found at

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