The historic Warwick Mop Fair will be returning to the town next week.
The fair, which goes back centuries, takes place over two weekends every October and fills the town centre with rides, stalls and other fairground attractions.
This year the Mop will be set up on Friday October 18 and Saturday October 19 and the Runaway Mop will be set up on Friday October 25 and Saturday October 26.
The event traces it’s history back around 700 years to a time when local agricultural workers and domestic servants sought employment. They would be hired for a week, to assess their skills and for them to get to know their new employer. If either party was unhappy they were free to change and seek different employment at the Runaway Mop, however this was risky as if they agreed to a contract then, they were hired for the year.
Many traditions are still maintained during the modern fairs. The official opening ceremony, which will take place at noon on the Saturday (October 18), will see Warwick’s Mayor, Neale Murphy reading the historic charter.
Following the opening, the traditional pig roast is held along with a charity auction for the first slice of meat. The auction proceeds and sale of pork batches on the day will raise funds for the Mayor’s Charity.
Tommy Wilson, Mop organiser, has attended the Mop Fair for many years and his family have for generations. He said: "The event goes back hundreds of years and my own family has attended the Mop for 150 years. It's a generation thing. Most of the families coming have been doing so for four or five generations.
"I think we are probably one of the oldest families in the Mop. I am the fourth generation in my family. There are 40 to 50 different families attend the Mop and there will be stalls, food and rides.
"Over the two weekends we probably bring in between 15,000 to 20,000 people to Warwick town centre.
"We are inviting children from local special needs schools from the area to come along on the Friday afternoon from 1.30pm to 3pm on October 18 for free rides. If anyone has special needs children but they don't go to the schools they are also more than welcome to bring them along at that time."
Like previous years there will also be a 'no alcohol policy' in the public areas of Warwick Town Centre during the Mop Fair. Tommy added: "No one will be able to carry alcohol around the town centre. It will be confiscated. We are trying to make this a family orientated event."
Tommy is looking forward to returning to Warwick next weekend.
"I always look forward to coming to Warwick," said Tommy. "I have fond memories as a child coming to Warwick with the Mop. It is a great weekend and we try to create a nice family environment. "
Many local shops in Warwick town centre will have discount vouchers for the rides at the Mop.
The Warwick Mop will take place on Friday October 18 from 5pm to 10.30pm and on Saturday October 19 from noon until 10.30pm.
The same times will be in place for the Runaway Mop on October 25 and October 26.
For more information click here or go to: http://warwickmopfair.co.uk/index.html