The Barrel Fair first took place at the Westleton Carnival in1951. It was started by two well known locals, Charlie Alexander and Jim Fisk. Organising the carnival proved to be very hard work, so in 1953 a committee was formed. The East Anglian Daily Times kindly agreed to present a miniature barrel to the winner of the first barrel race, which was won by Jack Docwra.
Originally the barrels were made from wood and pushed down the main street (as per the pictures on the right). This proved to be rather dangerous when they got out of control! This led to the barrels being pushed up the street which was much safer. Dances were held at Westleton, Middleton and Darsham in order to choose a Barrel Fair Queen and her attendants. The first ever Barrel Fair Queen was Joy Allum. One of the highlights of the original barrel fair was the 5 aside football matches, one of the must successful teams were the five Baggott brothers, who were well known for their footballing skills. After 15 years the new Police Inspector of Leiston Station felt closing the street in order to hold the fair was causing a problem and the fair stopped.
1995 saw the Barrel Fair resurrected to what you all know it as now!
(Many thanks to Frances Berry, Suffolk Local History Recorder for Westleton)
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