Stratford’s 2020 Mop Fair and Runaway Mop have been postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Pressure has been growing on the district council to postpone the events and this afternoon they confirmed that a decision to do just that had been agreed between themselves and fair operator Bob Wilson’s Funfair.
Cllr Ian Shenton, Operations Portfolio said: “This is a regrettable though inevitable decision with our primary concern for public well-being.
“The decision to hold this year’s Mop Fairs in Stratford-upon-Avon in October was already under review due to the pandemic. However, in light of recent Government announcements and the ongoing public health emergency, the District Council together with Bob Wilson’s Funfair has decided to postpone this year’s Mop Fairs.”
Mr Willie Wilson of Bob Wilson’s Funfair added: “We had put in place necessary measures to enable the Mop to go ahead, including social distancing and extra hygiene precautions.
“However, one element neither the District Council nor ourselves can easily control is the number of people entering the town centre and, since public safety is the number one concern, we have taken the decision to postpone the Mop Fairs for this year. To defer an institution that has been part of the fabric of the town for centuries has not been an easy decision. We know many people will be disappointed and showmen have suffered a severe loss of livelihood in the current crisis, but we know this is the right decision.”
Stratford-upon-Avon Mop Fairs hold a special and almost unique status as they are deemed ‘Statute Fairs’, which are governed under the Fairs and Markets Act of 1847 which confers an absolute right for the fairs to occur annually in the streets of Stratford-upon-Avon – a right that can only be nullified by an Act of Parliament.
In order that the tradition of the statute is maintained and in recognition of the fair’s ancient charter, a small ride will be placed on Rother Market near the American Fountain on Monday 12 October at 11am.
For more reaction to this news read Thursday’s Herald.