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Appleby Horse Fair

pic from University of Liverpool gypsy archive (see link)

Appleby Horse Fair 2020 will not take place this year, in line with Government advice about avoiding large gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
**OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM BILLY WELCH**
23 March 2020 Billy Welch wants to let everyone know that he is disappointed and sad that Appleby Horse Fair has had to be cancelled. ''As everybody knows, he has been advised by the Government about the seriousness of the situation. It is nothing like we have ever seen before. This is an unprecidated situation that we have never experienced in this country and in the world in the last 100 years.We have to take this very seriously. It is worse than you can imagine. We must do everything we can to protect the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions.To cancel Appleby Horse Fair is a small sacrifice to make in this fight against this terrible virus. Everyone in this country has to come together to try and fight this.Billy Welch is appealing for everyone from the Gypsy & Traveller community and the settled community not to come to Appleby this year and - please do not even think of staying in the surrounding areas such as road sides or temporary stopping places

Appleby Horse Fair has existed under the protection of a charter granted by James II since 1685, and has survived an attempt at closure by Westmorland Borough Council in 1965. It is one of the key gathering points for the romany, gypsy and travelling community. Superb Fair photographs at this Gallery.


The Fair runs from the first Thursday in June (unless this falls on 1 June, in which case the Fair starts on 8 June) to the following Wednesday.

Map (2009) of main locations

Appleby Fair is a unique event, attracting around 10,000 Gypsies and Travellers from across the world and 30,000 other visitors who transform the small market town of Appleby, which normally has a population of 2,500. .

On the Sunday of fair week, between 20,000 and 30,000 visitors pour into Appleby and onto Fair Hill.

Details of event can be found on this public services website.

Tourists also mingle with the travellers to watch horses being washed in the river and the sometimes dangerous galloping and trotting of horses to show them off to potential buyers. Some shops close down for the duration as normal life is disrupted by the annual tradition.

Travellers heading south after the 2009 Appleby Fair
Superb Fair photographs at this Gallery.
Interesting pages on gypsy culture and history from Liverpool University.


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