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Pictured: Tens of thousands descend on English town for Appleby Horse Fair

Over 30,000 visitors from all over the world descended on the town to bid and barter for prized horses
A festival-goer washing a horse in the river that runs through Appleby

A festival-goer washing a horse in the river that runs through Appleby

A young man on a horse enjoying the fair

A young man on a horse enjoying the fair

Jamie McDowell

Thousands of people from the European travelling community have descended on Appleby-in-Westmorland in Cumbria, England, for the historic Appleby Horse Fair.

The event is expecting over 30,000 visitors from all over the world to celebrate the largest gathering of travellers in Europe.

The fair takes place every year in June, though this year’s event was slightly delayed due to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Festival-goers were seen washing horses in the River Eden and haggling over prices.

Many took the opportunity to cool off by jumping in the river and some were pictured with a flag saying ‘keep the horse fair alive’.

A young man on a horse enjoying the fair

A young man on a horse enjoying the fair

Warnings had been issued to locals that traffic disruptions are to be expected due to horses and traditional carriages.

Earlier in the week a horse died after being involved in a collision with a vehicle near the town.

Chief Superintendent Matt Kennerley said of the incident: “At this time of year we always urge drivers to be particularly careful on the county's roads.

Revellers soaking up the sun and the atmosphere at the festival

Revellers soaking up the sun and the atmosphere at the festival

“The likelihood of encountering slow-moving traffic is high so we must all be attentive behind the wheel.

“I urge people to take particular care on the A66, where fast-moving vehicles can come across slow-moving, often horse-drawn, vehicles and also the A685 in the vicinity of Kirkby Stephen, where there are caravans and horses by the side of the road. Whilst we already have large numbers of officers in these areas, we have further increased our resourcing here, to reassure people and help keep everyone safe.

Horses in the river in Appleby

Horses in the river in Appleby

“By being aware of the potential dangers, we can all do our part to make sure everyone reaches their destination safely and without incident.”

Chairman of the Appleby Horse Fair Multi-Agency Strategic Coordinating Group, Les Clark, said the organisation has been working with locals to accommodate the festival.

Men racing with horses at the Appleby Festival

Men racing with horses at the Appleby Festival

He explained: “'All the agencies involved in responding to the fair were keen to reach a compromise that enabled both the settled communities of Appleby and the surrounding areas and the Gypsy and Traveller communities to arrange and enjoy both celebrations.

Revellers at the Appleby festival

Revellers at the Appleby festival

“We're grateful to the Gypsy and Traveller representatives in the Multi-Agency Strategic Coordinating Group for being flexible on moving the date of next year's fair to accommodate the celebrations of the Queen's Jubilee.

“As part of this mutually agreed compromise, a delegation of representatives from the Gypsy and Traveller Community will gather in the Fair field on Wednesday 8 June, to reinforce the traditional dates of the Fair.

“The MASCG will also engage with those communities that normally accommodate people travelling to the fair in the days before to ensure that the impact on their Jubilee celebrations is minimalised as well as reinforcing a strong, 'Do not come early' message to those wishing to attend the Fair.”


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