karohemd: (Photo)
Strawberry Fair is an annual (except for last year) free festival on Midsummer Common in Cambridge. Last year, the police objected to the event because policing it had been difficult (disorderly conduct, drugs etc.) and the council didn't grant the license. This year, the setup was changed, Midsummer Common was fenced in and the number of entry points severely restricted so you couldn't simply walk onto the Common. Spot checks were made at the entrances for drugs and excessive alcohol (restricted to four cans). I wasn't stopped on the way in, possibly because it was still early and I didn't look like I would cause troubles with my two fancy cameras strapped to myself.

This year I was early enough to catch the parade coming in which had a steel/drumming band, stiltwalkers and other costumed participants.

The main difference to the setup of the fair was the lack of a big main music stage on the east end and other stages (like the Reggae Tent) were missing as well. I found the music generally lacking in quality or maybe I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Instead, there was a large cordoned off area called the "Village Green" in the centre with organised events like The Knights of Honour reenactment group's fighting displays.
The Cambridge Community Circus was present as well and made for some of the best photos I managed to get (see below).
As the stalls went it was either food (more expensive again, 6.50 for a portion of curry goat and rice with more bone than meat) or rather commercial ones selling clothing, accessories and tat. Most of the little stalls/traders were missing.
The weather was good, there was always a nice breeze so even when it was quite hot (hottest around 5pm!) it was bearable.

Overall, it was a good day out (I had to leave around 6 because my back was complaining too much) but it felt a bit subdued compared to previous years. The official numbers said there were a lot fewer arrests (13 compared to 73 in '09) but I think I saw just as many drunken yobs as in previous years.

Here's the Cambridge News article on the Fair. I randomly walk through the frame in the first video at 1:28 (but sadly with the head cut off). BBC Cambs' selection of my photos is here.

February 2013

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