Preview: Highgate's Fair in the Square returns to Pond Square on June 16
PUBLISHED: 10:00 09 June 2018
Highgate's Pond Square will be the place to be on June 16. The Ham&High previews the best of the Fair in the Square - and explains its history.
Highgate’s Fair in the Square has been going in some form for a total of 374 years. Back in 1744, attendees saw people chase a pig around Pond Square – and whoever caught the pig got to take it home.
Fortunately (unless you like that kind of thing), this year’s event on June 16 will be a pig-free zone, although livestock fans will be able to take in the Sheep Show – which promises to show how exactly you should shear a sheep (and not the mechanical kind you read about on page 17).
These days, if you make the journey to Highgate, you can sample any number of exciting stalls, give your kids the chance to let their hair down on some exciting rides, or even take a chilled-out tour of St Michael’s Church.
The newly-minted mayor of Camden Jenny Headlam-Wells will officially open the fair at 1pm, after the recently-formed Highgate Brass band really get things going from 12.30pm.
The fair has a long tradition of supporting local charities, and that continues this year. In Pond Square, visitors will be able to see stalls for good causes including Action for Kids, The Alexandra Wylie Tower Foundation, All Dogs Matter and the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust.
The star attraction is, according to chair of the fair’s organising committee Sarah Thomas, likely to be an acrobatic show from Jacksons Lane Theatre.
She told the Ham&High: “It will be a circus performance. They have now managed to organise to get an aerial rig, so they’ll be putting on an exciting high-wire show.
“Otherwise, the church tower is always a big attraction.”
Beyond that, events continue until 5.30pm, and stalls will be selling artisan produce and local food all afternoon.
Kentish Town’s Carrots and Daikon restaurant is even offering visitors the chance to learn how to make their own Vietnamese summer rolls.
Highgate pubs the Duke’s Head and the Gatehouse are both firmly behind this year’s fair, too, so fans of more traditional fare won’t be disappointed.
Sarah is in her first year as chair of the organising committee.
She has taken over from previous chair Veronica Day, who was at the helm for a decade.
Sarah said: “She was instrumental in making the fair what it is.”
Sarah explained she hopes the event can continue to simply bring the community together.
She told us: “It’s about celebrating the community and getting people together to have some fun.
“We are trying to encourage lots of local people – and non-locals – to come out and see that Highgate is a great place.
“I hope everyone will just have a great day.”
By way of example, many of the acts taking to the Pond Square Stage will show off Highgate talent young and old.
A hip-hop collective from Highgate School will perform at 3.30pm, while there will also be cheerleaders, a zumba show, and a number of musical acts.
Children from Highgate Junior School will also get an opportunity in the limelight and bring a taste of Brazil to north London – they’ll be showing off their samba dancing.
The fair is a chance to learn, too.
Sarah explained: “There are lots of societies and charities in Highgate too, and it’s a chance to learn about them all as so many of them will have stalls.”
The whole community has pitched in to help make the Fair in the Square a reality, with this year’s sponsors ranging from the Ham&High to the local Highgate Dental Practice.
Sarah said: “It’s the local sponsors and volunteers who make the difference. They are fab.
“Camden Council does a really great job, too. They provide a grant, yes, but then they also help us out with road closures on the day and it’s a great help.”
The Highgate Fair in the Square is a non-profit initiative run entirely by volunteers. Every year, any surplus they make is donated to charity – last year, the Harington Scheme and the Grenfell Tower fire appeal.