The Michaelmas and Runaway fairs take place each year in October and the Michaelmas fair is reputed to be the longest street fair in Europe.
When are the fairs held?
By law, the Michaelmas fair must take place annually on the Monday and Tuesday falling first before the 11 October in the centre of Abingdon-on-Thames, covering Ock Street, High Street and the Market Place.
The fairs began as a way to hire labour in the period after the Black Death in 1348, when the population fell by upwards of 40%, giving workers more power to seek work elsewhere. Skilled workers would carry the tools of their trade over their shoulder, while unskilled workers would carry a mop instead, which is why the fair is sometimes known as the ‘mop fair’.
The Runaway Fair takes place a week after the Michaelmas fair and was so named because it was a chance for anyone who had made a mistake and started work with a master who was perhaps cruel or untrustworthy to literally run away and find another place to work.
Both fairs are organised by Bob Wilsons Fun Fairs
Please see below a link to the 2022 letter that goes to residents and businesses outlining the road closures and diversions in place.