Rollercoaster of a year as fair suffers downturn
NOTTINGHAM City Council says there has been a "very healthy" turnout at this year's Goose Fair – despite some stall-holders saying trade has been well down.
Around 55,000 people attended the opening day of the fair on Wednesday.
But some stall-holders say takings are suffering. One man who has been at the fair for the last 30 years claimed profits were 50 per cent down on Wednesday compared to last year's figures.
The stall-holder, Michael Johnson, 50, from Glasgow, said: "This is the worst I have ever seen it, all the stall-holders are hoping for it to pick up.
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"Takings last night were down over half on the same night last year. People just haven't got the money to spend; it's as simple as that.
"The prices of everything are higher. The rides are fuelled by diesel which is also expensive nowadays.
"We travel up and down the country all the time and everywhere is the same story."
Lawrence Crick, 54, grandson of Adolphus Crick – or the Great Lorenzo, a trapeze artist well known amongst the fairground community, runs a hoopl stall at the fair.
"Wednesday night was 20 per cent down on last year, which is very disappointing," he said.
"It costs us about £2,000 in expenses to even come to Goose Fair and it is very hard to get it back. We used to come 20 years ago and take what we take now but the money went a lot further back then.
"We keep coming and live in hope. I could have sold the plot several times but I'm reluctant to give it up.
"We'll be back again though because we like coming, to us it's like a paid holiday, we catch up with old friends and have a drink in the pub."
At the fair this week Maximus Bilsbrough was celebrating his first birthday and enjoying the swings.
But his mother Tonicha Bilsborough agreed things seemed quieter at the fair.
She said: "We came today because it was his birthday but we do come every year, we have done since we were little, we just love it.
"There certainly doesn't seem to be as many people here this year though, probably because of the recession."
Kevin Sheldon, 52, of Clifton, who had made a special Goose Fair hat for the occasion, he said: "I've been coming here since I was born and I have noticed it is not as busy as it normally is.
"But it won't put me off, I'm here every night. To me Goose Fair is like fish and chips – it's just traditional. I wouldn't miss it for the world."
A spokesman from Nottingham City Council said a decision had been taken not to increase rents at Goose Fair in this year view of the current economic climate.
He said: "Our figures show that around 55,000 people attended on Wednesday, which is a very healthy turnout for a mid-week evening, with showmen and traders telling us they were pleased with it.
"Clearly, money is tight for a lot of people and so it would not be very surprising if families are spending less than usual."
Goose Fair is open today from 11am to 11.30pm, on Saturday from 11am to 11pm and on Sunday from 1pm to 9pm.