Mart funfair comes to town

PUBLISHED: 12:32 23 January 2006 | UPDATED: 21:37 28 May 2010

CENTURIES of history will be celebrated in February as the King's Lynn Mart rolls into town. Showmen are counting the days to the launch of the funfair with the traditional opening ceremony at noon on Valentine's Day, which is attended by robed dignitarie

CENTURIES of history will be celebrated in February as the King's Lynn Mart rolls into town.Showmen are counting the days to the launch of the funfair with the traditional opening ceremony at noon on Valentine's Day, which is attended by robed dignitaries from across the region.And sweet-toothed revellers have a treat to look forward to this year, as a chocolate fountain is being introduced to the sideshows. Fruit "kebabs" or marshmallows can be dipped in a stream of liquid chocolate."It was just something that came about - a new attraction," explained the mart's chief steward, Donald Gray."They are mainly in the fairs in Germany and we thought it would be a good idea to fetch one to King's Lynn."The rides filling the Tuesday Market Place with noise and colour will include old favourites like the waltzers and the dodgems, a Mardi Gras carousel and the Extreme and Hi.Energy for white-knuckle enthusiasts.Showmen usually spend January and early February carrying out maintenance and preparing for their tour around the country."The Mart is the home of fairs," said Mr Gray. "Everybody looks forward to coming to King's Lynn because it's the start of the official showmen's season. No one can wait in my own family at the moment - they are saying, 'Another month and we will be there'."A successful Mart is regarded as a good omen for the showmen but is also associated with bad weather, with last year's takings hit by particularly cold conditions.The 2005 fair also coincided with redevelopment of Lynn town centre, which meant that parking during the two-week run was in shorter supply than usual, but since then a 700-space multi-storey car park has been opened behind St James swimming pool.The ancient event is allowed to operate in Lynn "with accustomed liberties and privileges" under the terms of a charter dating back to the 12th century.The Mart will run from Tuesday February 14 until Tuesday February 28 and is open every day except Sunday. Children's day, when ride prices are reduced, will be Thursday February 16.

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