• Ditchling Fair - Vicar and Wizard © Kris Pawlowski

Ditchling Fair - Morning Events

As day breaks on Ditchling Village, a full morning of exciting events is planned. From the Wizard, our Village Gems, food and game stalls in West Street, Fair Proclamation, Ditchling Morris and the Mummers play, and finally the legendary Jack & Jill Race to get your juices flowing. And if that isn’t enough, there is Harris Old Thyme fun fair and our pubs and cafes are all open to keep you sustained.


 
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The Wizard of Ditchling

As dawn breaks on Fair Day, listen out for our Wizard of Ditchling as he weaves his way down the lanes summoning all denizens of Ditchling to assemble and celebrate the festivities.

On his rounds, he will also call at the houses of the Village Gems, where he recites a special proclamation and bids them to attend in their honoured capacity as Village Gems. Each Gem is awarded a certificate from the village as a mark of our gratitude.

In attendance throughout the morning, in the afternoon the Wizard leads the procession through the Village, where we finally gather on the Green to continue our revelries.

Sporting his personally designed unique ‘Coat of Memories’, the Wizard of Ditchling is also the custodian of your Fair Memories. If you have a special memory of the Fair, no matter how recent or old it might be, simply ask him for a memory tag; once written, you can attach it to the Coat of Memories where it will be kept safe for ever.

Please don’t be shy – approach the Wizard and have your special fair recollection held safe for future generations.


 
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The Village Gems

Ditchling Village Gems for 2022. We are seeking nominations from the village who deserve to be recognised and celebrated, and Ditchling Fair is the perfect time to do this.

Do you know someone who goes above and beyond to enhance the life of Ditchling village and its community?

Do they live in the village? Are they 12 or over and know they’re being nominated? Crucially do they know they are being nominated and are willing to be part of our 2022 Fair day celebrations?

If the answer to all of the above is yes, then we would love to hear from you,
in order that the whole Village can thank them in style at the 2022 fair!

Click HERE to download an entry form, Please read and complete it carefully, and return the form to The VIllage Post office by 4pm on 3rd May 2022.


 
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Morning Stalls

As the Church clock strikes 8.00am, Ditchling folk reclaim the street and the West Street once again becomes pedestrianised, and full of the wonderful stalls run by the locals.

Ranging from the wonderful to the weird, here you can find delicious homemade food and cakes for sale, eclectic competitions run by the local volunteer and interest groups and arts and crafts. There is something for everyone, and so if you would like to book a stall and get involved please do get in touch. There are only a few slots left, and they are filling up fast so get in touch today.


 
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Fair Proclamation

On the morning of the fair, it has become tradition for this proclamation to be read to the gathering crowds and we thank the Rev. David Wallis for rising to the challenge again.

Of course the proclamation does not date from the Middle Ages, like our Fair, but was a village effort. First declaimed in 1953 by actor Donald Sinden during a visit to his boyhood home, it was composed and inscribed by Dr F. W. Linton-Bogle, the local general practioner. The parchment scroll, which is held in Ditchling Museum, was designed by the artist Grace Denman, who lived in the High Street for many years.

In this year of grace MMXXII, the seventieth in the reign of our most gracious majesty Queen Elizabeth, the second of her name, the Ditchling Fair will be held on June the eighteenth.

Wherefore all ye who dwell in Ditchling, whether at Sobers, Senge, Gospels, Pardons, Dowsings, Starlings, Cotterlings, Chettles, Chitterlings, etc, etc, or more surprisingly at Bracadale, Warfdale, Elogndale and Teesdale; all ye Estatesmen of Neville and of Shirley; all ye who by your activities and attainments have added a note of High Seriousness to live on Lodge Hill and down at the Lees; all ye who eke out a stark and lonely semi-Westmeston existance in Spatham and Underhill lanes; all ye who quick homeward through the uncut gorse on Ditchling Common; all ye, too, who pace in privacy your shorn Plantagenet lawns at Hillway, Lexden and at Downsland Court; and last and most lovingly all ye Saucy Coxcombs, ye Doddipol, Jolkheads, ye Jobbernol Goosecaps, ye Noddy Meacocks, ye flutch Calf Lollies, ye Slapsauce fellows whose address is just plain Ditchling tout-court.

Ye are hereby exhorted, invited and commanded to lurk no longer slubberdegullion behind the wood work of your half timbered houses, nor to peer like paulty customers snub bottle-nosed against the long lozenged panes of your leaded windows at out Pagent and processions, our street stalls and side shows, our Sports and Maypole Dances, but rather…

To come forth spry and spracker from your Dymmocks and your Jointures, your Bowries and your Boddingtons, your Twittens and your Rookeries, having already diluted yourselves with an horrific trait of an un grand vin á la Ridgeview Estate or with a firkin or two of Ale from the White Horse or the Bull, and grace with all your presences the High Class Goings On in the Alme, Inclyt and Celebrate Villagio which is vocitated…DITCHLING


 
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Ditchling Morris

This year sees Ditchling Morris’ 34th Birthday and to get the party going they have invited Black Powder Morris to perform with them.

They will be dancing out with Ditchling Morris outside the White Horse and joining in with the procession in the afternoon. You can also get involved with the celebrations when they go for a pre-solstice dance up to the top of Lodge Hill to watch the sunset (timings will all be available from the programme due to be published in early June).

Ditchling Morris are looking for new local members so if you are interested check out their website.


 
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Ditchling Mummers

We have been told by a reliable source that this Fair’s Mummers’ play is going to be something really special.

Looking at the local village rivalries, this new play is guaranteed to wow everyone who sees it.Check them out on West Street (timings will all be available from the programme due to be published in early June). They will be raising money for St Peter and St James Hospice.


 
Jack & Jill Race Ditchling Fair © Gordon Bain

Jack & Jill Race

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The Jack and Jill race, now in its twenty-eighth year, has become one of the Ditchling Fair’s more boisterous traditions.

Entry is open to pairs of racers with a competitive spirit aged 16 and over. There will be a prize for the winner of the race and a prize for the best dressed couple.

General Rules:

  • The entrance fee for the race is £5 per team – entrants compete at their own risk.
  • Each team will consist of two people suitably dressed.
  • The race is timed for each team, with penalties for water lost.
  • The start is by the War Memorial on West Street. The course runs down West Street to the roundabout where there will be a well for filling the bucket.
  • Competitors will then return back up West Street to the official water measuring cylinder.
  • Teams must fill the official Jack and Jill bucket themselves.
  • The race will be timed for each team from the starting sound to them finishing by emptying their bucket into the measuring cylinder with both Jack and Jill across the finishing line.
  • The winning team will be the one with the fastest time and the most water in the measuring cylinder.
  • The official Jack and Jill bucket is supplied and can hold 16 pints of water. Every quarter pint of water is one unit. Time is counted in seconds. Score is calculated as water units minus time.
  • The highest scoring team wins the race.
  • Be warned THE BUCKET LEAKS RATHER BADLY – teams are not allowed to block the holes.
  • Teams fill the official Jack and Jill bucket from the well themselves for fairness – if they don’t take enough water or are too slow to fill the bucket it is their own fault.
  • The trophy and prize will be awarded to the winning team with an additional prize for the best dressed couple.
  • The judge’s decision is final.

But the best bit is taking part, so be sure to be there bright and breezy, dressed in full rig and take part in the best race in any village in the land!


 
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Harris’s Old Tyme Fair

The Harris Fair rides are a wonderful and timeless addition to our fair, and we are delighted to welcome back Harris’s Old Tyme Fair.

Started over 160 years ago, and still operated by the Harris family it is a glorious part of Ditchling Fair. The glorious wooden horses on the galloper or merry-go-round give us all that nostalgic feeling for fairs of yesteryear, and feel as important to making a fair day as they would have in Victorian England. So climb aboard and ride these classic fair ground experiences.


 
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Food & Drink

We think it is fair to say that food and drink are a key component of Ditchling Fair day! And right from the start of the morning events you will find some fabulous offerings to sustain you.

Ditchling is blessed with a number of fine establishments – we have The Bull and The White Horse, plus The Nutmeg Tree and The Green Welly. All conveniently placed to pop into, meet friends and family and still be on hand to come and witness all the fun and frolics going on in the village as fair day begins in earnest.


 
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Scarecrows

The Fair Scarecrow Competition began in 2004 and once again we thank the residents of Ditchling for continuing the creative reputation of our village.

Naturally from fair to fair we have no idea what surprises you will find as you walk around the village, but we know you will be entertained by the effort that has gone into these creations. The theme for this year’s fair is Joy & Jubilation. All entries should be based around our theme.

The scarecrows will be characters, stories or events that invoke the theme…what can you find? There is no limit to the number of scarecrows in each scene, so if you make Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs this would be judged as one entry. If a family/household wishes to make scarecrows representing different topics, then separate entry forms and fees are required for each topic.

All the details of how and when to enter will be published nearer the time, but be sure to get creating your family masterpiece during May in order that it is ready for display a week before the fair date.

The scarecrows will be judged by public vote. First, second and third prizes will be awarded to the winners on Fair Day and a trophy will be awarded for first prize. A scarecrow map will be available from the Post Office – details to follow.

If you wish to make a scarecrow but do not have a location where it would be visible, you may place your scarecrow on the property of another resident if you have their permission. The prizes will be awarded to the creator of the scarecrow, not the owner of the property.

Looking for inspiration for this year’s competition? View our previous scarecrow galleries under the About section on this website.

Ditchling Fair Day - Village Green

About Ditchling Fair

Ditchling Fair is truly one of the highlights of village life. A biennial event, 2022 will mark 710 years of celebration; and after a cancelled 2020 fair (due to the pandemic) we are all really excited and looking forward to this fair.

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DitchlingFair__GetInvolved_08 © Kris Pawlowski

Get Involved

Ditchling Fair is run entirely by a dedicated team of volunteers. Not only is it hugely rewarding helping with the lead up as the fair comes together, but also on the day itself it is simply wonderful to be able to get involved and ensure the fair’s success.

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DitchlingFair__GetInTouch_09 © Kris Pawlowski

Get in touch

Ditchling Fair is a volunteer run event for all the village. If you would like to join us and volunteer to get involved, or book a stall on the village green then please do get in touch.

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News and Updates

As the fair date approaches, we will letting you know about new and exciting developments. Please follow us on social media.