Is Hull Fair open on Sunday and the reasons behind the schedule

For more than a week you can hear the laughter, screams and loud music as thousands enjoy the fun of the fair.

Other than last year as Covid gripped the nation and during the two world wars, Hull Fair has been a bedrock of Hull tradition.

Yet, during those nine days of fun and festivities, there is always one day where Walton Street falls silent.

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The fair is not on during the middle Sunday despite calls from the Showmen’s Guild to have it held that day.

Hull City Council has looked into the possibility of holding it on the Sunday but believes residents of Walton Street deserve a break.

Over the last few years there have been calls by the Showmen’s Guild to open on the middle Sunday for the first time in the fair’s 800-year history.

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Those calls were brought into sharp focus in 2019 after the opening Saturday proved to be one of the busiest days in the fair’s recent history.

The sheer numbers left people trapped in the crowds and unable to move with many fairgoers questioning why the fair could not open on a Sunday.

Then Hull City Council leader Councillor Stephen Brady reacted at the time by saying he had no “fundamental” opposition to a Sunday opening but did not want to push the goodwill of local residents.

He told Hull Live in 2019: “We have said in the past that whatever happens, it would need residents’ support.

“Recent surveys we have carried out show residents are not in favour as it stands.

“The one thing we want to do is protect the local neighbourhood and give them a quiet day in between.

“Residents have been very good. They understand the history of the fair and accept it but we don’t want to push it and end up with a negative reaction.”

The Showmen’s Guild has long sought for the fair to be open on a Sunday.

A completed Ferris wheel overlooks the rest of the rides already on site by this weekend. Hull Fair opens on the afternoon of Friday, October 8.
A completed Ferris wheel overlooks the rest of the rides already on site by this weekend. Hull Fair opens on the afternoon of Friday, October 8.

Yorkshire president Garry Leach previously said he has been petitioning the council to get permission for a Sunday opening next year.

He told Hull Live in 2019: “The Showmen’s Guild is 100 per cent behind opening Hull Fair on Sunday.

“We think it would make the fair better and Saturday night has shown that the success of the fair is leading to problems, with people reporting being crushed and kids crying after having to wait for hours to get on a ride.

“Hull Fair is a major attraction so it’s just common sense that it should be open for the full weekend for families from not just Hull, but all over to get here.

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“We want to entice the families on the Sunday and make it a family day, it’s a complete no-brainer that it would be a success.

“The Goose Fair in Nottingham had the same problems with being too busy on the Saturday, but as soon as they opened on Sunday all those problems went away.

In 2019 Hull Live readers backed opening on a Sunday with a poll showing a huge majority in favour of the move.

Mr Leach even outlined how the fair would work on the Sunday.

He said: “We propose that the Sunday opening time should be at 2pm, closing early at 8pm so that the kids can make it home to get ready for school the next day in good time.

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“We have conducted polls before about the idea of opening on a Sunday and we received a lot of support from people in Hull about the idea who agreed and thought it should be done.

“It’s not like we are expecting it for free either. We know that there will be a cost involved but we could pay and have even drawn up a plan of the extra revenue that we would have to pay for it.

“Everything is in place on our side for the Sunday opening, but there just seems one or two people against it on the side of the council.”

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Two years on and the Showmen’s Guild’s stance has not changed but the fair remains closed on the middle Sunday.

If there is further chaos on Saturday night then the debate on Sunday opening will no doubt hot up once more.

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