Victorian fair set to be held at weekend again despite some businesses’ concerns

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 March 2019

Gordano Valley Church members and puppet show.

Gordano Valley Church members and puppet show.

Archant

Portishead’s Victorian fair is likely to be held on a Sunday again this year, despite ‘adverse feedback’ from retailers.

The street fair, which historically has been held on a Friday evening, was moved to a Sunday for the first time in December, with hopes of making it more appealing to families.

The festive event drew a sizable crowd to the High Street regardless of a heavy downpour, and the fair’s organisers are planning to host it on a weekend again.

Jonathan Lewis, part of the team behind the event, believes the event should be held on a Sunday.

Speaking at Portishead Town Council’s meeting earlier this month, he said: “If the event goes ahead this year, and we reach a satisfactory deal in terms of licensing fees with North Somerset Council, the chances are we will be going for another Sunday because I don’t think we have given it a fair trial.

“On the Sunday (last year) we suffered an absolute downpour. The weather was particularly awful.

“It is very difficult on the basis of one Sunday with appalling weather to accurately make a judgement.

“The feedback we have had from the public has been in the high 90 percentage points in favour of moving from Friday to Sunday.

“From the High Street retailers (though) the message is a bit more nuanced.

“They are broadly in favour, but we had some adverse feedback from shopkeepers because it’s easier for them to open later on a Friday evening rather than open on a Sunday, but the number of shops opening for the Victorian fair has not been that great.”

Mr Lewis believes focussing on creating a family-friendly atmosphere is key to the event’s success.

He added: “The reason we switched it from a Friday to a Sunday was multi-factorial.

“We had a little trouble with drunken teenagers which our volunteers had to sort out quickly and efficiently and we want to make the Victorian street fair a family-friendly affair.

“In recent years we have moved away from having noisy fairground rides and we have got more of a Victorian swing boat theme.

“Making this an afternoon event rather than on a Friday evening gives it more of a family-style feeling.”

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