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  © Copyright  Romanygenes 2007--2020 Design and Web Layout  © 2007-2020 S.J.Day All Rights Reserved


Copyright RomanyGenes 2007-2020 Design and Web Layout S.J.Day All Rights Reserved

 Great Dorset Steam Fair


The Great Dorset Steam Fair is widely recognised as the leading event of its type in the UK and, indeed, in Europe. It is held on a mammoth 600 acre site at South Down, Tarrant Hinton, near Blandford Forum in Dorset UK and is regularly attended by over 250,000 visitors from both the UK and abroad.

The GDSF is also a music festival, (5 massive marques of live music), a craft fair, market, the biggest display of vintage transport in the country, and the largest fairground you'll ever see.

2007 sees the show in its 39th year.


The aim of the Great Dorset Steam Fair is to give the public an insight into what the English way of life looked like in the country at the turn of the century when steam power was in its heyday.To do this they assemble each year probably the largest collection of steam and vintage equipment to be seen anywhere in the world and take visitors on a giant trip of nostalgia into the days of yesteryear. Undoubtedly the success of the steam fair is due to every exhibit being shown in the way in which it was originally worked and functioned all those years ago. This working theme has proved to be a winner with the public from the very first show.

Overall there are 200 working steam engines and 100 fairground organs at the show together with around 2000 other working exhibits. The event is now popular with many traveller's and


Showman’s Engines and Old Time Steam Fun Fair

One of the highlights of The Great Dorset Steam Fair is the old time steam Funfair. Annually, over 60 Showman's Engines with their gleaming, twisted, brass appear generating the light and power for the old roundabouts and swing-boats, and with 80 merry organs playing, it makes for a fascinating spectacle, especially at night. For many the nightlife of the show is the highlight of their visit!


The showman’s road locomotives really are the stars of the show standing proudly in front of the fairground and majestically lighting up the Great Dorset Steam Fair sky line. These engines are a variation of the big road locomotives adapted for showman’s use by the fitting of a dynamo on the front perch bracket.The power is then used to drive and light up the old time fairground. Showman’s Road Locomotives would haul the heavily laden trailers from show to show .The smaller counterpart to these locomotives are known as Showman’s Tractors and were also useful for hauling support vehicles out on the road and powering lights in the fairground.

The fabulous showman’s engine line up at the Great Dorset Steam Fair is world renown and together with the rides in the Old Time Fairground including two sets of Gallopers (carousels), Steam Yachts, Chair-o-Planes, Noah’s Ark, Skid, Cakewalk, Big Wheel and a Light House Slip, will give you an almost mystical experience that is difficult to define.

Fairground Organs.The instruments that you will see at the show are mainly fairground organs, which originally were built up inside various different fairground rides.

Heavy Horses

The heavy horse section is one of the most popular areas at the show. Over 100 heavy horses take part in the many displays. Each day, in the working area, heavy horses will be working the land using various cultivation implements. On Wednesday in the working area there is a friendly ploughing match. On Saturday, the ring is reserved for the showing classes which begin at 9.30am with the presentation of trophies at around 3.30pm. All of the horses involved in both the working and daily displays will be groomed to their finest and dressed in their best harnesses to vie for the winning spot.


Those visiting at night are spoilt for choice! There is so much to see and do and some would argue that the show really comes alive as sunsets and the lights go up, the music plays and the fun really starts. You can enjoy live music, ride on the modern or traditional fun fair rides, and enjoy some traditional fare, beer and cider. You can travel between marquees for different music and entertainment and even stop off and get your palm read!

This is just some of the attractions!! besides all the above there are old cars and caravan display's,Rural Craft's and Dancing and demonstration's of ploughing and other old crafts, and How ‘Twer Done in Granfer’s Day!!

A unique collection of working farming bygones from the days of yesterday when “Granfer” was in his hey-day The display includes corn grinding and stone milling machines driven by shaft gearing plus water pumps, generating sets, horizontal and vertical tree sawing, a barn thresher, cleaning and winnowing. And of course for us "Rakli's"  the all important "Market" where you can get the latest "Chanel"and other designer gear and your mats and bowls !!

With 1,000 traders, 2,000 exhibitors and their families, together with our campers on the public campsites (5,000 caravans and tents) it is estimated that the population living on site amounts to 25,000 people at any one time.

Total number of people expected to see the show is in excess of 200,000 its on the 29th Aug to 2nd September 2007






                                                                                                                                                              Nice scenes at Stourpain

                                                                                                                                                              just look at the size of the

                                                                                                                                                              funfair alone!




















Matcham Horse Fair 2006  This is a relatively new venue and with so much tradition its hard to set up a new venue but I think this one will continue to gain popularity good luck to them!.

Matcham Raceway came good again as the perfect venue for a family horsefair. Well known dealers from near and far brought their horses and families for fun in the sun.

- And what fun!-  A bar that had to send out for more supplies, and the friendliest atmosphere to be had anywhere. The Karaoke night will be talked about for years to come, - judge for yourself. DVD Available from Appleby Fair Company.

















Appleby Horse Fair

 Dating back hundreds of years and still one of the largest horse fairs in Europe, Appleby Horse Fair takes place every early June (ending on the second Wednesday), and is one of the great meeting points for the travelling communities in Britain. Anyone can buy a horse on Fair Hill, but don't forget your "luck money" as part of the deal! It should be returned to the buyer by the seller after all the formalities have been gone through, to ensure good luck for the horse.

While the fair is now about as big as it used to be in the 19th century (following a demise in the 20th-century), it would have been much larger when it moved from the town centre to the Fair Hill in about 1750, with its large droves of Scottish cattle and around 20,000 sheep, the fair is now universally known for its horse-trading.


The main day - which used to be the first day of the festival but is now the last, is the second Wednesday of June, traditionally the principal horse dealing day. Nowadays, travellers - some in traditional horse-drawn caravans, although most with the car-towed variety - start amassing the previous week, and the fair can easily attract some 900 mobile homes.


Amidst the stalls of food, drink, crafts and fortune tellers, the important business of horse trading takes place on the closed road between Appleby and Brampton to allow buyers to put potential purchases through their paces. And there are usually several hundred horses. "chopping"between buyers and sellers can result in some horses changing hands several times during the fair.

A traditional sight every day is the washing of horses prior to grooming in the River Eden and, although horses are not allowed into the town itself with the bridge end policed, after dark there is plenty of entertainment for the traders and visitors in the town.

As well as horse trading and the stalls being open for business between the Friday and Wednesday, there is also Harness Racing at Holme Farm Field on the Tuesday, with nine heats and a final, organised under British Harness Racing Club rules.

Below a few pictures from Appleby 2007 kindley sent me from various folki who attended.





















The other "Biggy" Stow-On-The -Wold

The Stow-on-the-Wold Horse Fair has taken place twice a year since 1476. It attracts hundreds of visitors and Gipsies from all over England who come to trade horses and meet old friends. The horse fair at Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire takes place in May and October each year. It is centuries old, starting originally as a hiring fair in the middle ages when farm workers would be employed for the coming year.

Nowadays it is mainly a horse fair organised and run by Gypsy Travellers. Families arrive up to a week before the fair day, always a Thursday, to meet old friends and relations. On fair day, horses are displayed pulling trotting carts up and down the road and deals are struck. On the field stalls sell a variety of goods and traditional crafts are demonstrated. Crowds of people, both Traveller and non-Traveller flock to the fair for an enjoyable day out












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 Great Dorset Steam Fair