One of the oldest fairs in Wessex will be taking place on July 16 on the grounds of Yetminster Community Sports Club.
The Yetminster Fair has been running almost continuously since the 13th century, when it was formed under a charter granted by the Bishop of Salisbury, Simon de Ghent, for a fair ‘to be held in his manor of Yetminster’.
The charter also included the right to hold a market on Mondays so locals could sell their products, cattle and their crafts.
Yetminster Fair was traditionally held on the Eve of St Andrew’s Day, November 30, but by the 19th century the fair was held twice a year in April and October.
For many years the fair was held on Upbury Farm and boys from Boyle’s School, which was set up for local, poor boys endowed by Dorset scientist Robert Boyle, were given the day off to attend the spectacle.
People came from far and wide and until 1947 livestock sales were a big attraction at the fair. In 1896, to boost attendance, cheap rail tickets were issued, and it was agreed that the 10.32am express train from Weymouth would stop at Yetminster so people could attend.
The format and date for the fair has changed much over time.
In more recent times, The Yetties, one of the country’s best known folk groups, who hailed from Yetminster, attracted big crowds for their annual performance.
Yetminster Fair is now held annually, usually in the second week of July, and the proceeds are distributed to local organisations later in the year. The lively atmosphere on fair day complements the old-world charm of the village, evoking memories of a bygone age and attracts visitors from far and wide.
This year the fair will feature a host of attractions, including a dog show and classic car display, a tug of war, Rob Barfoot’s bouncy castle and some 50 stands.
Sherborne’s Abbey 104 Radio will be hosting events and there will be musical entertainment aand dancing from the Blackrock Irish dancers to the lovely voices of Stanchester Quire.
Live music continues at The Sports Club until the evening with Greg ‘The Piano Man’ Agar followed by Band in a Box.
The fair opens at noon and admission is only £1, including a programme and entry into the Lucky Number draw.
Yetminster Fair this year promises to be a great day out.
If you would like to know more or can spare an hour or two to help on the day then find Yetminster Fair on Facebook or email yetminsterfair@ gmail.com