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The Burgess Hill Christmas Fair 2007

Saturday December 1st 2007 was the absurdly early date for this years Burgess Hill Christmas Fair.
Borrowing a small child for the day, the Burgess Hill Uncovered team had an excuse to check out the event without seeming uncool!

The Winter extravaganza was carrying a Dickensian theme this year, cash prizes were on offer for members of the public dressed in the most impressive Dickensian outfits.
In addition to this, there were some 'famous' personailites from the Dickensian era that were giving out 'autographs' that were to be collected in a special autograph book. If you collected 4 out of the 6 autographs on offer, then you were eligable to enter the draw for a cash prize.

Shockingly, the Christmas lights were not turned on for the event. Scandalous. This chap from Mid Sussex Downs Radio was helping to add to the atmosphere with his wide selection of music.
The Sussex Ambulance Service and the British Red Cross were both on hand in case of emergencies.
  They were called into action when a boy suffered a nose bleed on the bouncy castle, it's true!
Thankfully, some citizens of Burgess Hill were aware that the event was taking place, as proved by this picture.   The event is well under way, and these old people are yet to even finish setting up their stall!
This themed sign alerted people that a Christmas Bazaar was taking place in Cyprus Hall, we didn't read it though.   If you had the fastest strike, you could have won a football signed by the Arsenal squad. But why not one from BHTFC?
This crank driven carousel proved popular with the children, including our very own token child.   The fairground organ churned out some festive songs along with the Wombles theme tune.
This smashed up car is a reminder of what can happen when you let a woman loose behind the wheel.   This idiotic man attempts to eat the bubbles coming from the bubble machine. Where was the snow machine?
A street urchin, an old dragon, and a guy dressed up in a green novelty costume wearing an NCH teeshirt!   This gentleman played the Scrooge character brilliantly. Here he is pictured meeting two minor celebrities.
Queen Victoria and Albert, they certainly look different from the pictures we've seen.   This Chimney Sweep offered us two shillings to come work for him, not even enough to buy a Mars bar.
A Christmas event wouldn't be complete without Santa Claus. Our token child was scared of him.   This Snowman was delighted to be rubbing shoulders with greatness.
By collecting all six autographs, not only did you get entered in a prize draw, but you got given a Christmas bear to stick in your window! Here is the Reindeer variant.   This chap selected a Snowman, which was then kindly given to the token child as a reward for his services.

Disappointingly, the winter fair didn't appear as well attended as the town day in the summer. This may be because the local papers didn't seem to advertise the event as much as the June event.
Also, from what we could see, there were a lack of members of the public dressed up as Dickensian characters, perhaps setting a theme where costumes are easier to put together could be considered in the future.

But it wasn't all bad though, the atmosphere was great, the excellent entertainers 'Slap and Tickle' along with the carol singers provided interest at the band stand. A man was going round making balloon models for the kids, including a motorbike for our token child. The idea of getting 'autographs' from the characters was inventive, although disappointing in that they were just stamping the books with festive ink stampers and not actually writing their names using a quill. The 'pay off' for getting the autographs was a pleasant surprise; our reindeer is currently affixed to the window in the office canteen.

We'd like the think that the local community groups and charities made some money from the event via their raffles, tombolas, cake and book sales, as that's what this event is really about. These stools gained at least £5 from the Burgess Hill Uncovered coffers alone!

So then, a good effort by the festival committee, but if they need ideas and inspiration for 2008, then the staff of Burgess Hill Uncovered are just an email away.

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