All the fun of the Steam Fair!
Carter's Steam Fair came to Bath this weekend and it was AWESOME! (If you're in Bath and reading this on Sunday, they're at Victoria Park until 9pm, so get yourself down there.)
John and Anna Carter started the whole thing off when they bought the Gallopers, the carousel, back in 1975. They had an interest in vintage machinery and entertainments, and repaired the carousel and got it running. They acquired more rides over the years, and today the fair is the vintage travelling funfair, with some extremely rare rides including one of only two remaining sets of Steam Yachts in existence. As soon as we saw the posters going up in Bath, Mr Robot and I knew we had to go along.
|The Steam Yachts, built in the 1920s|
|Victory Dive Bomber. Scarier than you|
We arrived and the first thing we heard was proper rock 'n' roll. The Rock 'n' Roll Dodgems not only have pictures of famous musicians on the stand (I got very excited to see Billy Lee Riley, singer of 'Flyin' Saucers Rock 'n' Roll' depicted there), but all the cars are named after musicians too. On the side of the Duane Eddy dodgem there's a painted note that the real Duane Eddy visited the fair in the 1990s and drove his namesake car. Close by was the Victory Dive Bombers. We went on those. they started off going backwards, and just as we got used to that, they switched to going forwards. It's quite a strange sensation hurtling towards the ground in a little metal box.
|The chair-o-planes are thought to date from the 1920s. I was|
very excited to see these, as I've seen them in silent films.
|I loved the carousel!|
|This motorbike wasn't used in the display, but it made a real|
roaring sound when the showmen revved it up!
The Wall of Death was simply crazy. The original Indian Scout, imported in 1929, is one of the motorbikes still used for this attraction. It sounds so simple: chap rides motorbike, goes up wall. If you saw it on the telly, you'd probably think, "Meh, so what?" But to see it for yourself, with a real man riding up the wall (to a point where his tyres are only a foot or so away from you), hearing the loud engines and realising that one error would probably kill him, is another matter entirely. I was awestruck by their skill and daring.
|Yes, he's sidesaddle with one hand off the handlebars. |
And that wasn't the most daring bit!
|Some of the fleet of vintage Scamell lorries used to move the fair.|
'Why Not' has been on the road since the 1940s.
We had a fantastic time at the fair. The rides are moved by a fleet of vintage trucks, and many of the showpeople living in vintage living wagons, which limits the fair's mobility: Bristol and South Wales are as far as it goes, according to the fair's website. If you do spot it near you, definitely go. As I said, it's like the funfair you always wanted to exist, but never thought could be real.
|Behold, the mighty hunter (Mr Robot) shooting sweeties with corks...|