Wellington Midsummer Fayre
The next Fayre will take place in June 2022
2021 update: with social distancing measures due to end on 21st June at the earliest, we have decided not to hold the Midsummer Fayre this year. We discussed the possibility of scheduling it for July, but we are mindful that many people – including our volunteers and amateur performer groups – will be planning to get away that month, visiting family and friends or finally taking a holiday. So, with apologies to those hoping to see the Fayre return this year, we’ll be back in 2022!
The Midsummer Fayre is a fire-eating, foot-tapping, feel-good spectacular that takes place annually on the second Saturday in June, 10am – 3pm around Wellington’s Market Square, All Saints Church and Market Hall. Organised by Wellington H2A and All Saints Church, it is funded with support from Wellington Town Council and local businesses, and sees thousands of people coming out to enjoy the town. With around 40 stalls set up outside the parish church, music and dancing throughout the day and a costumed procession first recorded in 1773, its a day no Wellingtonian should miss.
Thank you everyone who helped us to design and host the Midsummer Fayre 2019 programme …it was wetter than we would have liked, but we had a great response. The 2020 event sadly had to be cancelled because of you know what!
These photos from past events will give you an idea of what the whole thing is about…
June fayres were taking place in Wellington at least as far back as the 13th century, when the town’s Market Charter of 1244 sanctioned a fayre to take place on the Vigil, Feast and Morrow of St Barnabas (10th-12th June). An important commercial event in Wellington’s calendar, it is likely that street entertainers would have been there to make the most of the large crowds and long hours of daylight – just as they are today.
Five hundred years later in the 1770s, the June fayres were still taking place, but the town’s most colourful annual celebration seems to have been the Wellington Jubilee. This was staged slightly earlier in the year at Whitsun, and was advertised in the newly established Shrewsbury Chronicle newspaper from 1773 – 78. Described then as an ‘ancient festival’, it perhaps dated back much further. It comprised ‘a breakfast of tea, coffee and chocolate’ on The Green (the area just north of the parish church), followed by a costumed procession through town and, at night, a ‘Ball and Assembly’.
It is from these past fayres and Jubilees that today’s re-vived Midsummer Fayre takes its inspiration, stirring together six centuries of festivities and folk culture from the 13th to the 19th centuries, when Wellington’s June fayres disappeared.