Corby Pole Fair 2022 needs community support for big day of music, fireworks and jousting

Celebrations in 1982Celebrations in 1982
Celebrations in 1982
Grants can't be spent on some of the community activities planned

A fundraiser has been launched for next year's community-run Corby Pole Fair to help pay for extra entertainment on the day of the once-every-twenty-years event.

The Pole Fair is a traditional community celebration, that takes place in the Old Village area of Corby every 20 years with the next on Friday, June 3, 2022.

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Scheduled to take place in and around the Charter Field in Corby Old Village, the Pole Fair in 2002 attracted crowds of approximately 30,000 people to enjoy outdoor attractions, entertainment and the reading of the Royal Charter at the three entrances to the village.

In 2020, an award of more than £35,000 was made by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund to be used by the Corby Pole Fair Steering Group to prepare for the big day to make sure that local people are central to planning the fair and to digitise the archive.

Helen Willmott, programme director for organisers Made With Many, said: "There are some traditional aspects of the Pole Fair that are much-loved, but not attractive to funders, such as the music stage, jousting, family activities and fireworks. So, we're turning to the local community to help us with these through both our crowdfunder and business sponsorship offer.

"Supporters will get a range of rewards, including limited edition merchandise and surprises from the archive."

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The Pole Fair is a major community celebration and is said to have been celebrated in some form for more than 1,000 years.

A piper plays in the stocks in 1962A piper plays in the stocks in 1962
A piper plays in the stocks in 1962

There are numerous traditions that take place at every fair, including a dawn parade with a reading of the town’s charter, floral gateways to the Old Village area of Corby, and a greasy pole competition. At the celebration of the Pole Fair in Corby every person entering the village has to pay a small toll or face the stocks.

Previous fairs have also included markets, performances, historical re-enactments and a large fun fair.

A film made by HD Media CIC charting the history of the Pole Fair was premiered in June 2021 and is available to view.

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Money pledged from the fundraiser - set at £5,000 - will be put towards the music stage for local schools, community performances and music acts, a jousting display, a community breakfast for all after the morning charter reading and a fireworks display.

1982 - celebrations get underway outside the White Hart1982 - celebrations get underway outside the White Hart
1982 - celebrations get underway outside the White Hart

Also planned is a family area featuring storytelling, craft activities and a teddy bear’s picnic, historical re-enactments including a Medieval/Viking village, a carnival parade led by larger-than-life figures from Corby’s history, performances by local folk music and dance performers and a trail of exhibition boards across the Old Village bringing to life the area's rich history.

Made With Many is currently applying for a range of grants to support the fair further including an application to Corby Town Council.

Ms Willmott added: "Corby Pole Fair is an exciting and unique event in Corby's history. We've been working with a group of dedicated volunteers over the last couple of years to make plans and now we need the support of the whole town to make the 2022 fair the most memorable yet."

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To pledge your support for the Corby Pole Fair 2022 click here.

Corby Pole Fair 1902Corby Pole Fair 1902
Corby Pole Fair 1902

Depending on the level of donation, supporters who pledge £5 will receive a thank you on the Made With Many social media channels. A donation of £25 or more will get a public thank plus a limited edition item of Pole Fair merchandise. Anyone donating more than £100 or more can claim a specially curated Pole Fair goody bag, containing a selection of merchandise with a special treat from the archives.