KNUTSFORD Lions looked back this week over 30 years of Lions Fairs.

This year Knutsford Lions had planned to celebrate 30 years since the first late May Bank Holiday Monday Fair in Knutsford in 1990.

Unfortunately, as with all other major events in Knutsford this summer, the plans had to be abandoned due to coronavirus.

Clive Heath, who has been the main organiser for the fairs, said: “Back in 1990 the Lions wanted to create a community event which would raise their profile and give other local organisations a chance to raise theirs and needed funds - hence it was decided to set up a street market in the middle section of King Street.

“Market stalls were hired and rented out to local organisations or charities, and Lions arranged entertainment and refreshments along the street.

Knutsford Guardian:

“The first year event was approached with some trepidation about its financial success, but the day was sunny, and to our amazement large crowds of people attended all day. This popularity has continued every year until 2020.”

In the early years it was featured as a Medieval Fayre and Lions dressed in smocks or similar and encouraged stallholders to dress up as well – prizes were given to the most imaginatively dressed stalls and stallholders.

The Town Mayor and Royal May Queen have always attended and for a number of years the Mayor read out a short proclamation outside La Belle Epoque to officially open the event.

This was followed by a tour of the stalls with the Club President to select the winners of the stallholders prizes.

Knutsford Guardian:

Clive said: “Over the years Lions have occasionally had special celebrations.

“In 2002 we combined with the Town Council to set up a Jubilee Street Fayre in King Street followed by a Community Picnic on the Moor.

“2010 was the bicentenary of the birth of Elizabeth Gaskell and people dressed in some splendid Victorian costumes for our ‘Cranford Street Fair’.

“2015 was 800 years since the Magna Carta and youngsters from Knutsford Academy converted the Lions gazebo into a medieval castle.

Knutsford Guardian:

“2016 was 1,000 years since King Canute became King of England and the Fair was attended by a horde of Vikings.

“Organising the Street Fair in King Street became progressively more difficult due to the increasing number of shops and eating places which open on Bank Holiday Mondays.

“2017 was also a year of special celebration for Lions Clubs International being 100 years since the first Club was formed, so it was decided to try to move the event to Knutsford Large Heath.

“Sorting out permissions and arrangements for the first Fair on the Heath in 2017 proved quite challenging, but the extra space enabled us to create a much larger Community Event than was possible in King Street.

Knutsford Guardian:

“In particular it enabled us to celebrate 100 years of Lions with 15 other Lions Clubs from the Northwest/North Wales – many bringing Lion costumes which created quite a spectacle.

“We are grateful to Tatton Estate for allowing us to use the Heath each year – and our next Fair will now be on Bank Holiday Monday, May 31, 2021.”

Peter Willgoose has written a poem about this year’s fair, entitled ‘Knutsford Lions Fair on the Heath 25th May 2020?’

Monday’s arrived, it’s the Day of the Fair, But there is a problem, no one is there. It’s nobody’s fault, we all know just why, It’s that horrible virus, that’s still passing by!

For thirty years now the Lions created, That magical day, when all are elated. With the stalls and attractions that offer such fun, Be it rainy, or cloudy, or almost all sun.

The Street was the venue for most of the years, But now it’s The Heath that welcomes our cheers. With donkeys and owls and doggies galore, And music, refreshments and lots and lots more.

The reason it’s great is down to one man, He spends hours and hours on his masterplan. Though dressed as a Jester, he’s nobody’s fool, With Clive Heath in charge, everything’s cool!

So think of the Lions on this holiday, The noise and the bustle whilst children play. Though Monday’s arrived - the day of the Fair, Because of the virus, no one is there!