Goose Fair in Nottingham returns in style

A personal reflection by Christy Au

The famous Nottingham Goose Fair came back to its annual slot after being suspended for two years because of the Covid pandemic.

The fair returned on September 30 and ran until October 9, attracting visitors from all over the UK.

I’m from Hong Kong and am on a study exchange at De Montfort University so my friends and I gathered in Nottingham from Leicester, Manchester and Birmingham on the fair’s final Saturday to see what was on offer. It had been a long time since I went to a fair and I was looking forward to the 250 rides, as well as the booth games in the Forest Recreation Ground.

We hung around the city centre and had our lunch in a Thai restaurant during the afternoon. After spending a few hours playing mahjong in the casino, we had warmed up and were ready for the fabulous fair at night.

We arrived at the venue at around 8 o’clock, with the colourful lighting and the high-density of tall rides catching my eye on the way to the entrance. The space was jam-packed with people, some buying food from food counters, some queuing for the rides and some focusing on the booth games.

Sometimes we even experienced a ‘traffic jam’, all of us stuck in the middle of the road. This reminded me of the Chinese New Year’s Eve Flower Market in Hong Kong. People were busy with different things but they had the same joyful smiles on their faces. We followed the crowd, and walked through alleys that led us to every nook and cranny of the fair. Screams could be heard all over the place, no matter which rides we passed, their high-pitched voices easily reaching us. 

Packed: The fair was so crowded

We decided to sample only one ride, as most of the rides cost £4 to £5 for one go and we did not want to spend so much on them. However, looking for the best ride was a difficult mission. Apart from the prices, we still needed to find one which was suitable for three of us to sit together.

After walking around for a few times, we stopped in front of our final target. A ride bouncing up and down in the air was just fit for three passengers and seemed to be interesting. We rushed to an empty cart immediately after we paid at the counter.

Everything was peaceful at the very beginning, we even took a selfie while we were waiting for the ride to start. Yet it happened in an unexpected way and we had underestimated its power. When our cart went up, things started to lose control. The first few bounces were still fine, but a few seconds later, the bounces became more powerful, we could not even raise our hand and control our movement. The cart was quite small, and could barely hold three of us. We were packed like sardines and could not help laughing.

After around 5 minutes of war with the wind, we got down from the ride. We got prizes after the ride, tears, runny noses and messy hair, all because of the howling wind. It hit us viciously but our exhausted faces were filled with bright smiles. In such a context we still enjoyed the ride so much.

A recharging section was obviously needed after the tiring fun. Four pieces of biscoff donuts and regular fries were the best energy recharging choices.

Although there was a fair similar to the Goose Fair in Hong Kong, it was way smaller than Nottingham’s and going to the biggest fair in Nottingham will definitely be one of the greatest memories during my exchange in the UK.

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