Sunday, 7 June 2009

Good Old Fashioned Fun

Each year, we look forward to the weekend when Carter's Steam Fair visits nearby (Dulwich Village) so we can indulge in a funfair just as it should be.  No blasting pop music and blaring lights, smelly old hot dogs and lurid slush puppies here; but some good '50's rock'n'roll and rows of gently coloured old fashioned light bulbs, (film star-style), and plenty of Union Jack flags thrown in for good measure.  The last couple of years we have been has seen glorious sunshine and despite yesterday's dull and damp weather, it didn't darken our spirits. Roll up, roll up!

Yes, just as the hand painted sign boards promise, we were here ...

...for both the Munchkin and his ancient parents!

Steady on, though...

Ah, what the heck!

Carter's Steam Fair is based in Buckinghamshire and always visits Dulwich Village for a couple of weekends at the start of June.  The rest of the time, some other lucky places are home for the Fair and its not just the rides which are traditional.  Many of the travelling folk live in these fabulous showman's wagons.

Each ride is hauled by its own vintage lorry (some of which do now have generators on the back to power those rides which are no longer steam powered).

However, several of the rides are still powered by true vintage steam engines which are around 100 years old.  Yorky still powers the swing boats.

Oh, my favourite!  I just love the Gallopers.  The majority of the horses are the original wooden ones and all are beautifully hand painted and gilded.  This is one of the rides I will actually go on.  My stomach cannot cope with many of the others!

Whilst you ride up and down on your trusty steed, watching the rest of the fairground whizz by, you are delighted by the sounds of the original fairground organ which has survived from the late 19th Century.

Ah, someone else loves the Gallopers, too.

Above your head are these skillfully painted boards featuring centuries old monarchs of England.  A chance to catch up on one's history?

With our feet firmly on the ground, it was time to change up a few pounds for some old pennies.  Into the amusement arcade we go.  

There's no chance of getting me on this one!  However, I did enjoy watching the swing boats whizz back and forth, revealing the wonderful Union Jack underneath.  Rule Britannia indeed!

Ready for some rock'n'roll?  The boys were eager to dive onto the dodgems which is always great fun.  Each car is named after a singing legend from the era and brilliant rock'n'roll music adds to the fun.

Phew!  Need a little refreshment?  Have you ever seen such a fabulous ice cream van?  Not bad for a 55 year old?

Its history is marvellous.  The steam fair saved it from near dereliction in a farmer's field.

Or perhaps you'd prefer some candy floss?  (Better not tell the dentist!)

If you are ever lucky enough to have the Carter's Steam Fair set up close by, we cannot recommend a visit highly enough!


  1. Wow! You always spend your spare time at best!
    I love the pictures of the smiling Munchkin!
    Warm wishes,


  2. Oh! We love Carters too; they visit our town annually & we always pay a visit.
    Glad you had a good day
    Chris x

  3. What a beautiful post.
    It is lovely to see good old fashioned fun
    Munchkin looks like he has a great time
    AND as for the ice cream van well it is wonderful
    Thank you for sharing

  4. What a wonderful, wonderful fair. So much nicer than all the modern ones we have now.

    It justs takes you back to a 'nicer' age doesn't it, when life moved at a slower pace and people cared about their vehicles and fun was simple.

    Sue xx

  5. What a lovely weekend you had.
    I remember going to Carters Fair when we lived in Hertfordshire.
    Its so much better than the usual noisey, fairs these days.
    The atmosphere from the steam fair always seems so relaxed,and all the sounds and colours are great,
    Munchkin looks like hes really enjoying himself!!

  6. Wow that's my idea of a perfect fair ground. It reminds me of Gifford Circus who have the same authentic style caravans and its all beautifully done. I'm off to find their website to see if they come over our way! Thanks for showing me this great steam fair.

  7. I love steam fairs. I like the Mechanical Musical Machines, there is just something about them! Hopefully this year we may get to Dingles Heritage Centre Lifton Devon.

  8. The ice cream van is truly wonderful..I'd be quite happy driving that instead of a boring car! Plus all the ice cream you can eat, what could be better?

  9. Looks fantastic, I love the ice cream van. Have you seen the film 'that'll be the day'? I love 1950's fairs :)

  10. That's it. I'm packing my bags and moving to your house!

    Seriously, you have the most amazing places to visit in your little neck of the woods! One of these days I will have to take a trip across the pond, leave my beloved Oklahoma behind for a few days, and come explore. Your blog has opened my eyes even more to the beauties that England has to offer. :)

    Thanks (always) for sharing.

    From a faithful reader...

  11. How wonderful!There are one or two of the old 'manege' (merry-go-rounds)down here in southern France, but I have never been to a whole steam fair. I find the old steam organs absolutely fascinating - I always loved going on the horses and waiting for the moment that the steam organ came back into view. Thanks for sharing your great weekend!

  12. Thank you to share with us these pictures . Why we haven't this kind of fair in France ??!! You are so lucky ;-))

  13. Oh cute!
    Old fairs are wonderful...what a super day out....not been about much had so much happening...thought I'd pop in to say hi

  14. It all looks wonderful - especially the ice cream van!

  15. If only there were more fairs like that about , I don’t think I have ever seen one look as good as that.

    Love Lou xxx

  16. Well Hen, there is nothing, nothing like that steam fair around my New York neighborhood. I love the colors, the truely traditional yet still so lively energy of all the bits you've shown.

    It's grand that you and Mr H can also let little Munchkin know it is all right to have fun at such a fair. That it is extremely cook to appreciate the fun to be had on a day like you just had.

    Well done! xo

  17. looks like a really fantastic day out! x

  18. Hi Hen,
    I'd not heard of carters before. What a special fair, the people behind it must be quite special too, saving the ice cream van from near death in a field, and doing it up! Fantastic. You've treated us to loads of photos, thank you so much Hen, I feel like i've been there myself, which very much makes up for not having been there!
    Love Vanessa xxx (do you mind if i knit)

  19. What a wonderful fair - all those beautifully restored vehicles. So much different from the mottly crew that are the sideshow people doing the rounds here in Australia!!

  20. Isn't that the ice cream van that Mick Jagger wanted to buy but the owner said no as he has promised his daughter he will take her to her wedding in it when she is older?


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