Hereford May Fair 900 celebrations

Hereford May Fair 900 logoProgramme of events

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From 1 April 2021  Event: Add your photos to the May Fair Image Archive

Did you know you can submit your own photographs of the May Fair to the Herefordshire History website? Uploading your photographs and documents couldn’t be easier. Visit Herefordshire History to add to our ever growing archive of photographs, newspapers, documents and more. The May Fair images will be showcased in their own dedicated collection Herefordshire History archive mayfair900, showing the heart-stopping rides, side-shows, food stalls, behind the scenes hard work and ancient ceremonies that form the street extravaganza which is Hereford's May Fair.

Hereford May Fair Broad Street
1 April – 31 August 2021  Event: May Fair 900 trail around the city

A virtual trail around the city will guide residents and visitors around key May Fair locations. Download the trail on the Love Exploring app.or at Hereford City Council.

14 April – 22 May 2021   Exhibition: May Fair Exhibition at Apple Store Gallery

Local artists and members of Framework Herefordshire will create and exhibit work in response to the Fair. The exhibition will then move to 34 Eign Gate until 5 August to coincide with the rescheduled 2021 May Fair. For full details visit Apple Store Gallery.

Hereford history
30 April – 30 May 2021   Event: ‘For May Days past and future,’ Black & White House Museum

Students from Hereford College of Art have created an installation to celebrate the Fair which can be seen around the outside of the house. The Black & White House is a landmark building in the city centre and has featured in many of the May Fair photographs over the last 140 years.

4 May – 4 June 2021   Exhibition: Hereford Cathedral & the May Fair

A small display of artefacts related to the Cathedral's history with the May Fair will be situated in the Cathedral.

19 – 25 May 2021    Walk: The Walk of the Nine Days Fair - a celebration of 900 years of Hereford's May Fair

There will be a series of guided walks around the city of Hereford, featuring aspects of the history of the May Fair on Wednesday 19 May 2.30pm; Saturday 22 May 10.30am; Tuesday 25 May 2.30pm.

Walks start from Hereford Cathedral, cover approximately 1.5 miles and last around 1.5 hours. Tickets cost £5 per person and booking is essential as numbers are limited due to Covid-19 restrictions. For all details and to book please visit Hereford Cathedral May Fair 900 events. We recommend you wear weatherproof clothing and comfortable shoes as this tour is led on foot. If you require further information, or details on accessibility, please email or call 01432 374 251.  

18 May – 23 June 2021    Exhibition: May Fair 900 at Hereford Museum & Art Gallery

Celebrating 900 years of Hereford May Fair, the oldest surviving chartered fair in Britain. Historical fairground memorabilia and photographs, archive footage and stories of all the fun of the fair. Please note that exhibition opening times and access are subject to current Covid-19 restrictions and may change. Visit Hereford Museum and Art Gallery and @HerefordMuseums for up to date timings.

View a virtual tour of the exhibition via our May Fair 900 page from 18 May.

The exhibition has been created in partnership with Catcher Media.

From 19 May    Film: Commemoration of the Granting of the 1121 Charter

A filmed presentation briefly telling the story of the fair from the granting of its charter 900 years ago - involving the Lord Lieutenant, Bishop, Mayor and Showmen’s Guild. The successors of those involved since the start read from the documents prepared by the fair’s founders and runners, with images old and new illustrating the tale. Watch the film via our May Fair 900 page from 19 May.

From 20 May     Booklet: Hereford May Fair: celebrating Britain’s oldest fair

Researched and written by Graham Downie, this illustrated booklet explores how the May Fair has been seen by photographers over the last 140 years. Published by The Fairground Association of Great Britain with the support of The Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain. Available for sale following its launch on 20 May at Hereford Museum & Art Gallery.

27 May 2021    Talk:  “All that Fayre commonly called the Nine Dayes Fayre to be kept yearly from tyme to tyme within the month of May"  

In the 900th year since the granting of its charter, an illustrated talk will be led by Cathedral Archivist, Elizabeth Semper O’Keefe, on the history of Hereford's May Fair. This online event will be hosted via Zoom on 27 May at 7pm, lasting around 1 hour. Tickets cost £5, booking is essential. For all details and to book please visit Hereford Cathedral May Fair 900 events. If you require further information, or details on accessibility, please email or call 01432 374251.   

3 August 2021    Event: May Fair Opening Ceremony 2021

This year the May Fair has been moved from its usual May dates to August, due to the pandemic. This annual ceremony and ceremonial proclamation traditionally involves the Bishop of Hereford, Mayor of Hereford, Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain, Hereford City Council and Herefordshire Council. A formal proclamation to start the Fair is made and formal compensation to the Bishop from the City Council is made in accordance with tradition. The ceremony starts at 4pm on Tuesday 3 August with a parade through High Town, ending at the Cathedral where the formal proclamation takes place.