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Like a big magnet drawing me in
Karen Riches is a resident of Hull and at the age of 42 would not miss a moment of Hull Fair. She came into Avenues library in Hull and told us about her memories of the fair. We asked Karen if she lived near the fair and how she first heard about it:
Iíve always lived near the Fair. My parents told me, my Father was the most interested and he told me about Hull Fair, and the rides, that you can go on the rides and how exciting it was and then after I had been, when I was about 3 years old, I loved it so much, I never stopped going every year, Iíve loved it ever since. I remember my father telling me about Hull fair and how exciting it was. Going back I donít know how many generations there are true Romanies on my father side, but no body knows how far back, so my mum and I say thatís probably why there is just this love because usually children grow out of it but Iíve never grown out of it, there is still that sense of Oooh! I turn around Perth Street, and itís there, yes itís there, like a big magnet drawing me in.
What was so special:
Just that atmosphere, that lovely sense of magic. One of the things I do remember and I donít know what it was about, was a man dressed up as an Indian chief and two women as squaws. I wanted to know why and I was dragged away and told we donít go staring and I wanted to know what it was. Iíd still love to know now what it was about.
The music was special too:
I remember a ride, like the gallopers but it was steam driven. I remember the steam and the music because I used to watch the black and white minstrels, so thereís that music-hall music dragging me towards the sound, and there is so much to take in, noises, some unpleasant noises, some nicer noises and sounds from every direction. Going on the big horses with my father and being so excited and so alive with it. I still get that sense of magic.
Do you still go to the fair:
I still go now, yes, I went last year and Iím hoping to go again this year. I love the atmosphere, itís so unique and the lights look so pretty, I would not swap it for Blackpool Illuminations, theyíre just so wonderful and watching various people going on the white knuckle rides and looking at this and looking at that.
Do you have a favourite ride:
I go on the same ride, same every year because I know I can get on and off the horses safely and I love the old fashioned music because I used to love it as a child. I go on the Ayres family Gallopers. I just drift off into a dream world, listening to the music and their rides have got lovely half moon pictures on them, so I look at the animals, big cats, etc, and it can change and itís unique, I just like that one the best, I stick to what I like and what I know. I only go on the Gallopers because Iím scared of the white-knuckle rides and I know I would not be able to ride on them, but I always go on the Gallopers. I watch and I take everything in because I love the atmosphere. If I only went once and if itís teeming down with rain, I have to go, I have to be there, I have to be a part of it, soak up the atmosphere, see whatís there. Sometimes if I canít wait I walk down Walton Street, down the footpath and then go to the Gallopers, I have to go, I have to be there, even if I lived away from Hull, I would have to come, I would have to come to the fair.
Thanks Karen - We'll look out for you next October !