Swaffham Harvest Horkey Funfair
“For the juvenile portion of the pleasure-seekers… there were the usual attractions in the shape of sweet-stands and gingerbread stalls etc, with an endless variety of amusements for children of larger growth.” (Norfolk News 16 May 1863)
“The pleasure fair was not up to the average, there not being any roundabouts present and the organ was greatly missed.” (Thursday 14 May 1896 Eastern Evening News)
At some time the pleasure fairs morphed into a Harvest Horkey and by 1951 show-woman Mrs Bell could say that her family had set up stalls on Market Hill for over 50 years at harvest time for a period of between 4 and 6 weeks. By then, however, the length of time was beginning to cause concern, partly because of late at night noise, but particularly from the market traders whose pitches were shunted from the Marketplace with the arrival of the fairground rides. In 1958 the real debate began when the then Chamber of Trade launched an appeal to the Urban District Council about the length of the Fair, its effect on businesses around the Marketplace and the difficulty of coach parking for visitors.
In 1961 the venue was switched to Campingland for just two weeks and with modern amusements. It was there again in 1964.
It was not to last, however. Despite pleas from residents for its return to Market Hill the Harvest Horkey succumbed shortly afterwards and apparently, going by the lack of newspaper reports, quite silently.
The 2023 Horkey will be a marketplace full of rides – from gallopers to robots and the normal fair sweetmeats.
Cost per person will be £3 for unlimited rides between 11am and 3pm.