By Rachael Grealish
For the second consecutive year the Egremont Crab Fair and World Gurning Championship has been cancelled, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The committee made the announcement today, Monday February 22, via social media saying the decision had been made for the ‘health and safety of participants and spectators’.
It said: “It is with a heavy heart that Egremont Crab Fair Committee has made the sad but sensible decision to cancel the 2021 Crab Fair which was due to be held on Friday and Saturday, 17th and 18th of September.
“The health and safety of participants and spectators is paramount, and the risks and uncertainties associated with England’s progression towards a more normal life after covid make it sensible for us to concentrate on making Crab Fair 2022 bigger and better than ever.”
The committee did finish the post saying the fair would be back for 2022.
“We look forward to seeing you all on Friday and Saturday, 16th and 17th of September 2022. Stay Safe,” it concluded.
Egremont Crab Fair is believed to be the world’s oldest fair, dating back to 1267.
It is believed that the traditional fair has been held continuously since this time, except for unavoidable interruptions during the War years – and now for its second consecutive year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Lord of Egremont started a tradition of giving away crab apples, from where the fair gets its name.
The tradition continues to this day with the Parade of the Apple Cart, where apples are thrown to the crowds which throng the Main Street.
The modern day fair commences with a number of sporting events. Cumberland wrestling, an ancient and traditional lakeland sport, features prominently.
The rest of the day’s amusements include the celebrated World Gurning Championship where contestants pull ugly faces through a horse collar or ‘braffin’, a pipe smoking event and the singing of hunting songs.