Hampstead Summer Festival: Big Fair will take over Heath Street, with donkeys, chess and more

Hampstead Summer Festival's Big Far in 2018. Picture: HSF

Hampstead Summer Festival's Big Far in 2018. Picture: HSF - Credit: Archant

It’s hard to imagine summer in Hampstead without the Big Fair.

The fair is the culmination of the annual Hampstead Summer Festival (HSF), and it will see Heath Street don its gladrags once again.

Fancy a ride on a donkey, want to make friends with a falcon or simply want to prepare to run away and join the circus?

All are options available to you at the Big Fair.

That said, while the attractions and entertainment will no doubt be as exciting as ever, the highlight is always seeing the street full to bursting with stalls - all in the name of raising money for charity.

Els Bauer, the festival organiser, said this year would see the HSF build on nine years of great parties.

She said: "We are really excited about this year's festival.

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"It brings people together to celebrate our vibrant community.

"After nine years, local people know about it and put it in their diaries, and they come from all over north London for the super street food and the happy atmosphere."

Prepare for an influx of visitors, she added, trumpeting the tourist benefit the festival brings to Hampstead.

"It's really rewarding to bring thousands of visitors into our beautiful Hampstead village," she went on. "And to see so many people having fun."

Beyond the traditional aspects of a summer fete, Hampstead will also become a mecca for those who know their pawns from their bishops - the Hampstead International Chess Congress forms part of the festivities.

The Henderson Court Day Centre in Fitzjohn's Avenue is hosting a weekend of events, while the Big Fair itself will have a so-called "chess cafe" where visitors will be able to take on a chess master in the name of charity.

And fundraising is central to the HSF. This year chosen charities the Hampstead School of Art and Keats Community Library will be hoping for a bumper year - in 2018 they shared £24,000.

The Big Fair comes hot on the heels of a fortnight of merriment in the Village. Everything kicks off with the Art Fair next to Whitestone Pond at the top of Heath Street - launched by actor and comic Alan Davies on June 23 - while there's a barnstorming garden party for children and families at Keats Community Library on June 29. See et cetera for more details.