Options to save Horsham October fair

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BUSINESSES continue to petition to save the October funfair which has been coming to Horsham’s Carfax for the last 19 years during half term.

Horsham District Council is now inviting all interested parties to a meeting next month to discuss different options regarding the fair’s future.

The County Times understands one option which has been considered is for Horsham Park to host the funfair, but the Old Mill Steam Fair and Carfax traders feel the town centre is the only viable location.

Phil Read from the Old Mill Steam Fair said: “Having it in the park in October would not work. The October Festival is unique because it is in the town centre.

“Can you imagine having the lorries and equipment in the park that time of the year?

“It was originally the Town Centre Festival and it’s held there because it works. By moving it into the park you are moving it out of the centre.

Mr Read added: “We have come up with a compromise: the market comes into the Carfax with the fair.

“Every market trader who was there on that day signed the petition saying they don’t want to be moved, but supported the October Festival and they would happily move into the Carfax with us.

“It would be a squeeze, but that’s what makes the atmosphere.”

The permanent shop traders also support the fair being in the town centre.

Dominic Sakakini, from the jewellery shop of the same name, said: “At the end of the day the fair has been part of the town and part of the town history so why move it?

“It doesn’t bring in any business for us, but it brings in footfall and it’s the atmosphere.

“It brings in families and it signifies for me the beginning of Christmas.”

Katerina Waller, of Katerina jeweller’s, said: “I’ve been here three years and all the things that go on in the Carfax were the very reason I brought my business here.

“It brings people into the town and even if they didn’t come to shop they might say ‘I didn’t know that jeweller’s was there’ and come back another time.”

Dennis Hardy from Country Produce butcher’s said: “For me people are coming into the Carfax to come to the fair and enjoy themselves.

“The fair doesn’t benefit me at all, but it’s nice to have the fairground here.

“It it were moved, I think people would find it if they wanted to go.”

HDC would not comment on specific options being considered, but a spokesman said: “A meeting is being arranged in January for all parties involved in organising the October half term festival to discuss options for the event, including the possible continuation of the Funfair.

“Following consultations with partners and sponsors, the full Horsham 2012 Time Well Spent Event programme - which includes at least 10 town centre events throughout the year - will be publicised early next year.”