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Hundreds miss out as Barnet Horse Fair changes historic date
Hundreds of fair goers are believed to have “missed out” on this year’s Barnet Horse Fair as organisers changed the date of the annual event.
Each year the event attracts hundreds of travellers, horses and traders from all over the country who enjoy three days of entertainment in Mays Lane, Barnet.
The historic fair is in its 424th year, since Queen Elizabeth I granted the Mayor of Barnet a charter to run weekly markets on Monday and a yearly fair, which runs from 9am-5pm daily.
It usually operates mid-week, starting on September 4, but this year organisers decided to change the dates to last weekend.
Charlie Boswell, 23, Barnet Fair organiser, said: “Times are changing and a lot of people work during the week now, so we thought we’d try it on a weekend instead.
“We put a lot of adverts on travellers’ websites and also relied on word of mouth, but unfortunately a few people didn’t get the message. I think it did affect the numbers.”
Ninety one-year-old Bill Barnett was one of the “unfortunate” fair goers who travelled to the venue today to find the fair had been and gone.
Mr Barnett has not missed a fair since he was seven-years-old. Every year he would travel from his home in Cambridgeshire to Barnet where he would sell horses alongside his grandfather, John, and his father, Syd.
Mr Barnett, who retired as a horse dealer at 83-years-old, said: “I feel really bad I’ve missed this year’s fair.
“I enjoy seeing old friends and enjoy the company. But now I’m sitting at home just thinking I should be there talking to people and enjoying myself.
“I don’t think they should have changed the date. It’s always started on September 4. I think a lot of people won’t know it had changed like me.”
This year’s fair included a market, a fairground and a Travellers Got Talent show where people could take to the stage and sing a song.
Mr Boswell said: “It was a really nice event and there was a good atmosphere as there always is at the fair.”
Organisers say they will consider changing the date back to September 4 next year. Mr Boswell said: "It's something we have to look at because it has been those dates for so many years."