Crab Fair set to celebrate 750 years this week

By Rachael Grealish

THE world’s oldest fair celebrates it’s 750th year in Egremont this week.

2016 World Gurning Championship winner Adrian Zivelonghi – photos by Robert Haile

Crab Fair makes its return this weekend (September 15 and 16) and promises to have an array of exciting entertainment and the, annual World Gurning Championship competition.

The Crab Fair Committee have been planning the momentous occasion since October 2016.Committee member,

Crab Fair Queen Reserve, Connie Doogan and Crab Fair Queen, Melissa Herbert.

Daniel Shutt said: “To mark the 750th milestone, along with the annual ‘Dancing in the Street’ party, on Friday 15, the Crab Fair committee have also planned two new events: a Taste Cumbria food festival, in Egremont Castle over both days, and Crab Fest music festival, kicking off at 1pm at the Crab Fair field.”

Celebrations for the fair started long before the event itself, with the crowning of the Crab Fair Queen.

Youngsters were invited to the annual Queen selection disco, on Friday September 8 at the La’al Club, in Egremont, to dance for the title of Crab Fair Queen.

On the evening 12-year-old Connie Doogan, from Keswick School, danced her way in to the position of Reserve Queen – but it was Melissa Herbert, 13-year-old West Lakes Academy pupil, from Egremont, that took the top spot as Crab Fair Queen for the fair’s momentous 750th celebrations.

Those in the area with keen eye and aim, the clay pigeon shoot was just the event – taking place on Sunday, September 10, David Gainford hit the target and won the competition.

Dent fell winner Sam Stead (right) from Keswick – 59.27 minutes and Alan Bowness in 2nd

Fitness fanatics and running amateurs alike braved the rain for the return of the annual Egremont multi-terrain run and Dent Fell run – the latter was back for the first time in 14 years.

Both races started on Egremont Main Street, near the memorial, on Tuesday, September 12, and even though the weather was against the runners, plenty turned out for both races.

Sam Stead, from Keswick, put his best foot forward, and up the hill, placing first in the fell run with a time of 59.27 minutes.

Tiffany Penfold, 18, from Egremont, completed the multi-terrain 6k and was first woman to cross the finish line.

On the day of the runs Egremont Main Street was closed off for a Victorian reenactment, complete with horses, an auction and a blacksmith. Organiser, Callum Scott, said: “The Victorian reenactment was great, it represented Crab Fairs of old, so goes along well with the anniversary.”

The main event kicks off on Friday, September 15, Dancing in the Street, hosted by Stella the Fella, a staple for every Crab Fair.

Headlining for 2017 former X-Factor stars, Union, first appeared on the singing contest in 2011, the boy band’s single ‘Carry You’ was a success and the boys will be performing the hit alongside some other originals.

Also billed on the line up is returning acts: Bupsi, Kelly Wilde and Angie Brown, among others. The Friday night also means the legendary pipe smoking contest.

Competition veteran, Alan Johnston, won his 29th title in 2016 – so it’s all building excitement to see if he’ll take his 30th win.

Crab Fest and Taste Cumbria are the main events for Saturday daytime.

Crab Fest is set to makes it’s debut with funk-rock band, Late Night Legacy headlining. The band’s frontman, Ryan Kitto, is Egremont born and bred and excited to play in his hometown.

He said: “Egremont Crab Fair has been firmly circled in my calendar for as long as I can remember and we are bringing everything we’ve got to the festival.”

Other bands and acts on the line-up are: Reptilians, The Black Guards and Northern Threads, among others.

Taste Cumbria are setting up residence in Egremont Castle with over 30 stalls booked for the event – not forgetting the 30 plus stalls available to browse on the Main Street.

No Crab Fair weekend would be complete with the World Gurning Championships. It’s an exciting year as gurning veterans Gordon Blacklock, Tommy Mattinson and 2016 winner, Adrian Zivelonghi, 49, of Tile Hill, along with any newcomers, all have a chance at taking the title during the fair’s milestone year.

Throughout the weekend there will also be the fair, situated near the fire station, in Egremont, the riding of the boundary, classic vehicles and the opportunity to win an iPod.

When apples are being thrown from the apple cart on Saturday midday, 10 golden apples will be thrown that can have the lucky catcher entered into a prize draw to win an iPod touch.

Crab Fair’s 750th celebrations are set to be an exciting time, we’ll see you there! And here’s to the next 750 years!