Coming around every 20 years, the Corby Pole Fair is a unique tradition which is said to have been celebrated in some form or another for over a thousand years. Last taking place in May 2002 on the Charter Field in Corby Old Village, the Pole Fair attracted crowds of 30,000 people to enjoy outdoor attractions, performances and entertainment. Now, for 2022, the event will be held on Friday, 3rd June 2022 – the second day of the four-day weekend to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
ArtReach’s Arts and Heritage Consultant Jo Dacombe has helped the Corby Pole Fair steering group secure significant funding to support the town continue this long-lasting tradition. The steering group has received a grant of £158,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to stage a major year-long community heritage celebration focused around the Corby Pole Fair in June, with lots of opportunities for the community to be involved creatively in the run up to the day.
Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the volunteer steering group, alongside project partners Made with Many, will be able to carry on with this important festivity offering a spectacular day celebrating local heritage. The celebrations will begin very early in the morning on 3rd June with a community meal and a shared opportunity to enjoy the dawn chorus.
The event aims to tell stories of the Pole Fair’s past through a variety of engaging activities, including a pageant, a living history encampment as well as Open Days at Corby Heritage Centre for visitors to explore the Pole Fair archives dating back to 1902.
Jo Dacombe is excited to be a part of this ancient tradition: “It’s not very often that ArtReach is managing events that begin at dawn, but this sounds like an exciting and special way to celebrate a truly unique day. We were thrilled when the funding was announced as £158,000. Not only will this help the steering group create some wonderful memories for the local people on the main event day, but they will also be able to capture and create digital historical archives that will preserve the Corby Pole Fair for future generations.”
Local groups will also be invited to make decorative archways to adorn the three gateways to the Old Village, where the local Vicar will carry on the tradition of reading the Corby town charter at dawn on the day of the fair. Visitors to the fair will be expected to pay a small toll to enter the fair on the day or risk ending up in the village stocks!
“Corby Pole Fair is a very special day for the people of Corby and we are extremely grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for recognising the uniqueness of our event and supporting us so handsomely. Thanks to National Lottery players, we are looking forward to a truly magical day.” Denise Westwood, Chair of the Pole Fair Steering Group
“We are delighted to support Corby in continuing this tradition which dates back to over a thousand years ago. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this unique part of Corby’s history will continue to be enjoyed by all.” Anne Jenkins, Director, England Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund