Sunderland’s first Hoppings-style funfair is hailed a success

Visitors to the North East's Largest Funfair at Herrington Country Park have given it a big thumbs up. Bustling on the last day.
Visitors to the North East's Largest Funfair at Herrington Country Park have given it a big thumbs up. Bustling on the last day.
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SUNDERLAND’S answer to the Hoppings has said goodbye for 2013 – but could return next year.

Billed as The North East’s Largest Funfair, the event kicked off on June 21 with scores of thrill rides and stalls.

Thousands of people from Wearside and further afield have travelled to the fair with their families over the past 10 days to experience more than 100 different 
attractions.

Officers from Northumbria Police have been on patrol throughout the duration of the festivities, with a private security team also on-site.

Co-organiser Colin Noble told the Echo today he and his associates are looking to put on another event in 2014.

“Overall, it’s been a success,” said Mr Noble. “A lot of people have come on both Saturdays and it’s been very busy.

“We did lose the first Sunday due to the weather when it rained heavily, but during the week the numbers of visitors were about what we expected them to be.

“Some people have been coming with Wellies on thinking the park will have cut up, but it hasn’t and the ground has stayed OK.”

Speaking about the funfair becoming a regular event, Mr Noble added: “I think we would like to go again next year, definitely.

“Whether it will be the same dates or if it’s in the summer holidays I don’t know yet, but it’s something we will look at.”

The seeds of the fair were sown when Sunderland City Council were approached hosting the extravaganza, following a dispute between the Showmen’s Guild, whose attractions light up Newcastle’s Town Moor each year, and the Freemen of Newcastle, who took over organisation in 2012, led the showmen to opt out of The Hoppings, which originates from the 1880s.

There were disagreements over the location of pitches, rent increases and the pricing of attractions.

Guild members voted unanimously to declare the event “out of order”, saying they will not participate for the foreseeable future.

Rides at the funfair’s final day yesterday closed at about 8pm.