From Academic Kids

For other uses of the word fair see Fair (disambiguation)

Fair is the name for the gathering together of people to display or trade produce or other goods, to parade or display animals and often to enjoy associated carnival or fairground entertainment.

It is a centuries-old tradition, and many communities have long had dedicated fairgrounds, while others hold them in a variety of public places, including streets and town squares, or even in large private gardens. They are often held in conjunction with a significant event, such as the anniversary of a local historical event, a seasonal event such as harvest time, or with a holiday such as Christmas.

Activities at fairs vary widely; Fairs are also known by many different names around the world, such as carnival, fete, county or state fair, festival, market and show, etc. Flea markets are sometimes incorporated in a fair.

The place at a fair (commonly a American fair such as a county or state fair) is where amusement park rides, entertainment and fast food booths are concentrated is called the midway, which is named after the avenue of amusements at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Fairs are sometimes important showcases for businessmen in agricultural, pastoral and horticultural districts because they present opportunities to display and demonstrate the latest machinery on the market.


Fairs, among the old Romans, were holidays on which there was an intermission of labour and pleadings. Among the Christians, upon any extraordinary solemnity, particularly the anniversary dedication of a church, tradesmen would want to bring and sell their wares even in the churchyards, which continued especially upon the festivals of the dedication. This custom was kept up until the reign of Henry VI. Thus we find a great many fairs kept at these festivals of dedications, as at Westminster on St. Peter's day, at London on St. Bartholomew's amd at Durham on St. Cuthbert's day.

But the great numbers of people being often the occasion of riots and disturbances, the privilege of holding a fair was granted by royal charter. At first they were only allowed in towns and places of strength, or where there was some bishop or governor of condition to keep them in order. In process of time there were several circumstances of favour added, people having the protection of a holiday, and being allowed freedom from arrests, upon the score of any difference not arising upon the spot. They had likewise a jurisdiction that allowed them to do justice to those that came thither; and therefore the most inconsiderable fair with us had a court belonging to it, which takes cognizance of all manner of causes and disorders growing and committed upon the place, called pye powder, or pedes pulverizati.

Some fairs were free, others charged with tolls and impositions. At free fairs, traders, whether natives or foreigners, were allowed to enter the kingdom, and were under the royal protection in coming and returning. They and their agents, with their goods, also their persons and goods, were exempt from all duties and impositions, tolls and servitudes; and such merchants going to or coming from the fair could not be arrested, or their goods stopped. The prince only had the power to establish fairs of any kind.

These fairs made a considerable article in the commerce of Europe, especially those of the Mediterranean, or inland parts, as Germany. The most famous were those of Frankfurt and Leipzig (Leipzig Trade Fair); the fairs of Novi, in the Milanese; that of Riga, Arch-angel of St. Germain, at Paris; of Lyons; of Guibray, in Normandy; and of Beauclaire, in Languedoc: those of Porto-Bello, Vera Cruz, and the Havannah, were the most considerable in America.

See also

de:Messe (Wirtschaft) ca:Fira da:Handelsmesse he:יריד


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