8 June 2013

Ham Fair 2013

Ham Fair is the main local community event of the year and I always make the effort to go, even when the weather is not as kind as it was this year.

The Fair takes place on Ham Common, which is just at the other end of Ham Parade from me and so it only takes a couple of minutes to get there.

This year the short walk took longer than usual as I bumped in to one of the main people from one of the community organisations, Ham United Group, on the Parade and we spoke for a few minutes about some local issues before we both headed to the Fair.

The heart of the fair is the many stalls run by local organisations, of which there are many. I spoke to several of them to get the local news and was particularly interested in the update on the proposed hydro-electric generator that would sit alongside the weir at Teddington.

There were lots of fun and retail stalls too and, as always, the most garish of these were the collection of bouncy castles in one corner of the Fair.

There were plenty of food and drink stall as well, most of which seemed to be run by the local schools and churches.

In the centre of the Fair was an entertainment zone that had dancing children from a local primary school when I went to see it. That's not the sort of thing that you can safely take pictures of these days, unless you are a parent; not that I needed an excuse not to take pictures of people.

There was the promise of a dog show but I left before that happened, not that I am taken to photographing dogs, or cats, either.

Machines I do take pictures of and my highlight of the show was the collection of vintage Trojan cars.

These were manufactured, by Leyland, in Kingston upon Thames for a while and so have a strong local connection.

They were incredibly basic as you would expect from cars this old, they were first made one hundred years ago and that is many car generations ago.

Given that, it is surprising that they look as like today's cars as they do with the basic box shape, two rows of seats, a wheel in each corner and another wheel to steer it by.

The success of Ham Fair can be judged by the number of visitors, the number of stall holders who return each year and, in my case, the number of meaningful conversations that I have.

It is things like the Fair that confirm that Ham is still a place that has meaning and it is not always overshadowed by the neighbouring towns of Kingston and Richmond.

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