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A fair or fayre is a gathering of people to display or trade produce or other goods, to parade or display animals and often to enjoy associated carnival
Carnival
Carnaval is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnaval typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party...

 or funfair
Funfair
A funfair or simply "fair" is a small to medium sized travelling show primarily composed of stalls and other amusements. Larger fairs such as the permanent fairs of cities and seaside resorts might be called a fairground, although technically this should refer to the land where a fair is...

 entertainment. It is normally of the essence of a fair that it is temporary; some last only an afternoon while others may ten weeks. Activities at fairs vary widely. Some trade fair
Trade fair
A trade fair is an exhibition organized so that companies in a specific industry can showcase and demonstrate their latest products, service, study activities of rivals and examine recent market trends and opportunities...

s are important regular business events where either products are traded between businesspeople, as at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Frankfurt Book Fair
The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world's largest trade fair for books, based on the number of publishing companies represented. As to the number of visitors, the Turin Book Fair attracts about as many visitors, viz. some 300,000....

, where publishers sell book rights in other markets to other publishers, or where products are showcased to largely consumer attendees, as for example in agricultural districts where they present opportunities to display and demonstrate the latest machinery on the market to farmers.

Fairs are also known by many different names around the world, such as agricultural show
Agricultural show
An agricultural show is a public event showcasing the equipment, animals, sports and recreation associated with agriculture and animal husbandry. The largest comprise a livestock show , a trade fair, competitions, and entertainment...

, fête
Fête
Fête is a French word meaning festival, celebration or party, which has passed into English as a label that may be given to certain events.-Description:It is widely used in England and Australia in the context of a village fête,...

, county fair, exhibition
Exhibition
An exhibition, in the most general sense, is an organized presentation and display of a selection of items. In practice, exhibitions usually occur within museums, galleries and exhibition halls, and World's Fairs...

 or state fair
State fair
A state fair is a competitive and recreational gathering of a U.S. state's population. It is a larger version of a county fair, often including only exhibits or competitors that have won in their categories at the more-local county fairs....

, festival
Festival
A festival or gala is an event, usually and ordinarily staged by a local community, which centers on and celebrates some unique aspect of that community and the Festival....

, market
Market
A market is one of many varieties of systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange. While parties may exchange goods and services by barter, most markets rely on sellers offering their goods or services in exchange for money from buyers...

 and show. Flea market
Flea market
A flea market or swap meet is a type of bazaar where inexpensive or secondhand goods are sold or bartered. It may be indoors, such as in a warehouse or school gymnasium; or it may be outdoors, such as in a field or under a tent...

s and auto show
Auto show
An auto show, or motor show, is a public exhibition of current automobile models, debuts, concept cars, or out-of-production classics. It is commonly attended by automobile manufacturers. Most auto shows occur once or twice a year...

s are sometimes incorporated into a fair.

Fayre



Fayre is an archaic
Archaism
In language, an archaism is the use of a form of speech or writing that is no longer current. This can either be done deliberately or as part of a specific jargon or formula...

 spelling of fair, used mostly from the 15th to the 17th century. This spelling is now confusingly used for both fair and fare, the latter in the sense of 'food and drink'. In itself, the word means a gathering of stalls and amusements for public entertainment
Entertainment
Entertainment consists of any activity which provides a diversion or permits people to amuse themselves in their leisure time. Entertainment is generally passive, such as watching opera or a movie. Active forms of amusement, such as sports, are more often considered to be recreation...

. The alternate spelling is an old-fashioned affectation and is used in order to remind revellers and participants of medieval fayres and markets. It is mainly used for fairs that are essentially leisure rather than business events like trade fairs.

Fairgrounds



The fair is an ancient tradition, and many communities have long had dedicated fairgrounds; others hold them in a variety of public places, including streets and town squares, or even in large private gardens. Fairs are often held in conjunction with a significant event, such as the anniversary of a local historical event, a seasonal event such as harvest
Harvest
Harvest is the process of gathering mature crops from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper...

 time, or with a holiday
Holiday
A Holiday is a day designated as having special significance for which individuals, a government, or a religious group have deemed that observance is warranted. It is generally an official or unofficial observance of religious, national, or cultural significance, often accompanied by celebrations...

 such as Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

.

History


In Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 times, fairs were holiday
Holiday
A Holiday is a day designated as having special significance for which individuals, a government, or a religious group have deemed that observance is warranted. It is generally an official or unofficial observance of religious, national, or cultural significance, often accompanied by celebrations...

s on which there was an intermission of labour and pleadings. In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 many fairs developed as temporary markets, and were especially important for long-distance and international trade, as wholesale traders travelled, sometimes for many days, for pre-arranged fairs where they could be sure to meet those they needed to buy from or sell to. They were usually tied to a special Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 religious occasion (particularly the anniversary dedication of a church). Tradesmen would bring and sell their wares, even in the churchyard
Churchyard
A churchyard is a patch of land adjoining or surrounding a church which is usually owned by the relevant church or local parish itself. In the Scots language or Northern English language this can also be known as a kirkyard or kirkyaird....

s. Such fairs might then continue annually, usually on the feast day of the patron saint
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

 to whom the church was dedicated. This custom was kept up until the reign of Henry VI
Henry VI of England
Henry VI was King of England from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471, and disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453. Until 1437, his realm was governed by regents. Contemporaneous accounts described him as peaceful and pious, not suited for the violent dynastic civil wars, known as the Wars...

, by which time there were a great many fairs kept on these patronal festivals, for example at Westminster
Westminster
Westminster is an area of central London, within the City of Westminster, England. It lies on the north bank of the River Thames, southwest of the City of London and southwest of Charing Cross...

 on St. Peter's day, at Smithfield
Smithfield, London
Smithfield is an area of the City of London, in the ward of Farringdon Without. It is located in the north-west part of the City, and is mostly known for its centuries-old meat market, today the last surviving historical wholesale market in Central London...

 on St. Bartholomew's (the famous Bartholomew Fair
Bartholomew Fair
Bartholomew Fayre: A Comedy is a comedy in five acts by Ben Jonson, the last written of his four great comedies. It was first staged on October 31, 1614 at the Hope Theatre by the Lady Elizabeth's Men...

, celebrated in Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
Benjamin Jonson was an English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor. A contemporary of William Shakespeare, he is best known for his satirical plays, particularly Volpone, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, which are considered his best, and his lyric poems...

's play of the same name) and at Durham
Durham
Durham is a city in north east England. It is within the County Durham local government district, and is the county town of the larger ceremonial county...

 on St. Cuthbert's day. The Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage in which Hindus gather at the Ganges river.The normal Kumbh Mela is celebrated every 3 years, the Ardh Kumbh Mela is celebrated every six years at Haridwar and Prayag, the Purna Kumbh takes place every twelve years, at four places Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain,...

, held every twelve years, at Allahabad
Allahabad
Allahabad , or Settled by God in Persian, is a major city of India and is one of the main holy cities of Hinduism. It was renamed by the Mughals from the ancient name of Prayaga , and is by some accounts the second-oldest city in India. It is located in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh,...

, Haridwar
Haridwar
Haridwar is an important pilgrimage city and municipality in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, India...

, Nashik and Ujjain
Ujjain
Ujjain , is an ancient city of Malwa region in central India, on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River , today part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is the administrative centre of Ujjain District and Ujjain Division.In ancient times the city was called Ujjayini...

 is one of the largest fairs in India, where over 60 million people gathered in January 2001, making it the largest gathering anywhere in the world. In the United States, fairs draw in as many as 150 million people each summer. One example of the American county fair being featured in a famous piece of literature is in E. B. White
E. B. White
Elwyn Brooks White , usually known as E. B. White, was an American writer. A long-time contributor to The New Yorker magazine, he also wrote many famous books for both adults and children, such as the popular Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, and co-authored a widely used writing guide, The...

's Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web is an award-winning children's novel by acclaimed American author E. B. White, about a pig named Wilbur who is saved from being slaughtered by an intelligent spider named Charlotte. The book was first published in 1952, with illustrations by Garth Williams.The novel tells the story...

. Children's competitions at an American fair range from breeding small animals to robotics, while the organization 4-H
4-H
4-H in the United States is a youth organization administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the United States Department of Agriculture , with the mission of "engaging youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development." The name represents...

 has become a traditional association.

Pie-powder courts



Because of the great numbers of people attracted by fairs they were often the scenes of riots and disturbances, so the privilege of holding a fair was granted by royal charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

. At first they were only allowed in towns and places of strength, or where there was some bishop, sheriff or governor who could keep order. In time, various benefits became attached to certain fairs, such as granting people the protection of a holiday, and allowing them freedom from arrests in certain circumstances. The officials were authorised to do justice to those that came to their fair; eventually even the smallest fair would have had a court to adjudicate on offences and disputes arising within the fairground, which was called a pye powder court (from Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

 pieds pouldrés, literally "dusty feet", meaning an itinerant trader, from Medieval Latin
Medieval Latin
Medieval Latin was the form of Latin used in the Middle Ages, primarily as a medium of scholarly exchange and as the liturgical language of the medieval Roman Catholic Church, but also as a language of science, literature, law, and administration. Despite the clerical origin of many of its authors,...

 pedes pulverosi).

Free fairs





Some fairs were free; others charged tolls and impositions. At free fairs, traders, whether natives of the kingdom or foreigners, were allowed to enter the kingdom, and were under royal protection while travelling to and returning from the fair. The traders, their agents, and their goods were exempt from all duties and impositions, tolls and servitudes; merchants going to or coming from the fair could not be arrested, or have their goods stopped.

Such fairs (especially those of the Mediterranean region and some inland regions, particularly Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

), were extremely important in the commerce of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. The most famous were those of:
  • The Asia's Largest Cattle fair " Sonepur Mela "
  • The Champagne fairs
    Champagne fairs
    The Champagne fairs were an annual cycle of trading fairs held in towns in the Champagne and Brie regions of France in the Middle Ages. From their origins in local agricultural and stock fairs, the Champagne fairs became an important engine in the reviving economic history of medieval Europe,...

     in Champagne
    Champagne, France
    Champagne is a historic province in the northeast of France, now best known for the sparkling white wine that bears its name.Formerly ruled by the counts of Champagne, its western edge is about 100 miles east of Paris. The cities of Troyes, Reims, and Épernay are the commercial centers of the area...

     and Brie regions of France in the Middle Ages
  • The Frankfurt Book Fair
    Frankfurt Book Fair
    The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world's largest trade fair for books, based on the number of publishing companies represented. As to the number of visitors, the Turin Book Fair attracts about as many visitors, viz. some 300,000....

     remains the most important fair in international publishing, as it has been since at least the 17th century.
  • Archangel
    Arkhangelsk
    Arkhangelsk , formerly known as Archangel in English, is a city and the administrative center of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia. It lies on both banks of the Northern Dvina River near its exit into the White Sea in the north of European Russia. The city spreads for over along the banks of the river...

     in Arkhangelsk Oblast
    Arkhangelsk Oblast
    Arkhangelsk Oblast is a federal subject of Russia . It includes the Arctic archipelagos of Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya, as well as the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea....

    ), Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

  • Banská Bystrica
    Banská Bystrica
    Banská Bystrica is a key city in central Slovakia located on the Hron River in a long and wide valley encircled by the mountain chains of the Low Tatras, the Veľká Fatra, and the Kremnica Mountains. With 81,281 inhabitants, Banská Bystrica is the sixth most populous municipality in Slovakia...

    , Slovakia
    Slovakia
    The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

     (Radvanský jarmok)
  • Beauclaire, Languedoc
    Languedoc
    Languedoc is a former province of France, now continued in the modern-day régions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées in the south of France, and whose capital city was Toulouse, now in Midi-Pyrénées. It had an area of approximately 42,700 km² .-Geographical Extent:The traditional...

    , (France)
  • Frankfurt
    Frankfurt
    Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

    , (Germany)
  • Guibray, Normandy
    Normandy
    Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

    , (France)
  • Havana
    Havana
    Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

     (Cuba
    Cuba
    The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

    )
  • Plovdiv
    Plovdiv
    Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia with a population of 338,153 inhabitants according to Census 2011. Plovdiv's history spans some 6,000 years, with traces of a Neolithic settlement dating to roughly 4000 BC; it is one of the oldest cities in Europe...

    , (Bulgaria)
  • Poznań
    Poznan
    Poznań is a city on the Warta river in west-central Poland, with a population of 556,022 in June 2009. It is among the oldest cities in Poland, and was one of the most important centres in the early Polish state, whose first rulers were buried at Poznań's cathedral. It is sometimes claimed to be...

     (Poznań International Fair
    Poznan International Fair
    The Poznań International Fair is the biggest industrial fair in Poland. It is held on the Poznań fairground in Poland. Poznań International Fair is located in the centre of the city opposite the main railway station - Poznań Główny, in the centre of Poland and in the centre of...

    ), (Poland)
  • Leipzig
    Leipzig
    Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

     (Leipzig Trade Fair
    Leipzig Trade Fair
    The Leipzig Trade Fair was a major fair for trade across Central Europe for nearly a millennium. After the Second World War, its location happened to lie within the borders of East Germany, whereupon it became one of the most important trade fairs of Comecon and was traditionally a meeting place...

    ), (Germany)
  • Lyon
    Lyon
    Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

    , (France)
  • Milan
    Milan
    Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

    , Fiera di Senigaglia
  • Rome
    Rome
    Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

    , Porta Portese
  • Novi
    Novi
    - Places:In Bosnia and Herzegovina:* Bosanski Novi, a town in northwestern region of the country.In Italy:* Novi di Modena, a commune in the province of Modena...

    , in the Milan
    Milan
    Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

    ese region of northern Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

  • Riga
    Riga
    Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

    , (Latvia
    Latvia
    Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

    )
  • St. Germain
    Saint-Germain-des-Prés
    Saint-Germain-des-Prés is an area of the 6th arrondissement of Paris, France, located around the church of the former Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés....

    , at Paris
    Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

    , (France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

    )
  • Sweden
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

     and Uppsala
    Uppsala
    - Economy :Today Uppsala is well established in medical research and recognized for its leading position in biotechnology.*Abbott Medical Optics *GE Healthcare*Pfizer *Phadia, an offshoot of Pharmacia*Fresenius*Q-Med...

    , the Disting
    Disting
    The Disting is an annual market which is held in Uppsala, Sweden, since pre-historic times. The name originally referred to the great assembly called the Thing of all Swedes, and it is derived from the fact that both the market and the thing were held in conjunction with the Dísablót, the great...

  • Portobelo, (Panama
    Panama
    Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

    )
  • Veracruz
    Veracruz
    Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...

    , (Mexico
    Mexico
    The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

    )

See also

  • Sonepur Fair
  • Art fair
    Art fair
    An art fair is a commercial exhibition that shows the work of artists or art dealers. Each entrant has to pay a fee.Art fairs are not to be confused with art exhibitions. Exhibitions are organised by curators....

  • Fairground (disambiguation)
  • Street fair
    Street fair
    A street fair is a fair that celebrates the character of a neighborhood. As its name suggests, it is usually held on the main street of a neighborhood....

  • World's fair
    World's Fair
    World's fair, World fair, Universal Exposition, and World Expo are various large public exhibitions held in different parts of the world. The first Expo was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, United Kingdom, in 1851, under the title "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All...


External links