In less than a month’s time Stratford’s historic Mop Fair will come to town, but it is changes to the scheduling of the Runaway Mop two weeks later that that have worried businesses.
Traditionally the Runaway Mop follows two weeks after the Mop Fair on a Thursday and Friday, but in a change this year, the Runaway Mop will take place on a Friday and Saturday instead, on 25th and 26th October.
It is the prospect of the fair occupying much of the town centre for two Saturdays in October that has caused a stir, with a number of businesses unhappy about the re-scheduling.
Many have complained that the Mop Fair and Runaway Mop have a dramatic effect on trade, something they worry could have a particularly negative affect on the town this year because the main RSC Theatre is dark until 8th November.
Joe Baconnet, director of Stratforward BID has previously expressed misgivings about the rescheduling and complained of a lack of consultation with town centre businesses about it.
Earlier this year Emily Wilson from Mop organisers Bob Wilson Funfairs, explained that the change was to enable children to enjoy the Runaway Mop without having to take days off school.
The Mop and Runaway Mop fairs have long been a part of Stratford’s history, with the town originally being granted a charter to hold the event by Edward VI in 1544.
Traditionally the fair was concerned with the hiring of agricultural and domestic labourers.