Funfair extravaganza celebrates 10th year in Churchdown

Fairground enthusiasts maybe a bit thin on the ground but a 10-year labour of love for two Gloucester men has turned into the must see event on every showman’s calendar.

The Funfair Extravaganza brings in hobbyists and showmen from across the country, keen to meet others in the trade to swap stories and see what attractions are coming up.

The day has also proven to be a big hit for the general public as they enjoy the best the industry has to offer – with models, slideshows, showmen’s transports, stalls all on display.

The free event at Churchdown Community Centre, sponsored by the Western Section of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain, takes place on Saturday, from 10.30am to 5pm.

For co-organisers Bill Lane and Mike Willis, from Tuffley and Churchdown, respectively, this will be the 10th anniversary for the show they started from nothing, which has continually grown since its inception.

Speaking to the Citizen, Mike said his love for everything funfair started when he was just 10-years old.

When he was in his 50s, the fascination with the rides, stalls, sideshows and candy floss proved to have never faded, so he set about organising a day for those in the industry to socialise during their off season.

“It was just an idea I had 10 years ago to do something in the winter months as a social for enthusiasts and showmen in the area,” he said.

“It’s a really good day, with the fairground transports visiting and more than 60 models being displayed in three rooms, sideshows and refreshments, there’s something for everybody.”

The show has become increasingly popular, with people travelling from as far away as Scotland and Cornwall for the renowned day.

To mark the anniversary, a show will take place from Professor Voltini and Madame Electra who entrain audiences with daredevil feats, including high voltage electricity and sword-swallowing.

While the day is free, the pair are accepting donations which will go towards showman John Peters whose wife Sadie and two of his young children were killed in a caravan blaze in Surrey at Christmas. Call 01452 714173 or Bill on 01452 305046 for information.