VINTAGE FUN FAIR VIBES AT THE CARTERS STEAM FAIR

MY WEEKEND AT THE CARTERS STEAM FAIR

I’ve always been an amusement park/ fun fair kinda lady; though I’m not sure when it all started? Could’ve been after watching Grease for the first time, or maybe after one of our many family trips to Chessington. Either way, I’ve always loved the idea of a) having a first date at a fun fair and b) still visiting Thorpe Park as a grandma. Unfortunately, neither of those happened in this instance but I had so much fun at the Carters steam fair last week that I just had to share.


A steam fair? I know- what does that even mean, right? I was exactly the same when I’d first heard about it too- imagining something very dated and uninteresting. But as soon as I had a nosy on the Carters fair website my mind was swiftly changed to EXCITEMENT.

When I was younger, I honestly don’t think there was anything more exciting to me (other than barbies and WWE) than going to an amusement park or fun fair with my cousins. I cannot even begin to explain the levels of laughter because laughing so much that your belly feels toned was definitely a thing, each and every time we all came together- and not a damn thing has changed there either. But now that we’ve all grown up and started having kiddies ourselves, it’s all about giving them those same experiences. Plus- I needed an excuse to act like a big kid and let me tell you, having some of my tiny cousins with me gave me the platform I needed honey.

 
My sparkly little cousin ready for some fun at the fair.

My sparkly little cousin ready for some fun at the fair.

 

Speaking of family, the steam fair is organised and hosted by the Carters Family who actually rescue and restore vintage fairground rides at their yard in Maidenhead, and then take them on a summer tour around the South East of England, London and other UK locations. How lovely is that? I mean, I’m not sure that we’d all make it out safe if I worked with my own family, but the idea itself is super sweet – ha!

We visited the Lloyd park leg of their tour which is in Walthamstow. I hadn’t been to the park before so I quite enjoyed having a new experience in a new environment too. And, Uhhhh, as soon as we even stepped foot inside the fair I could only think of one thing… donuts. Like, let’s be honest, did you even go to the fair if you didn’t buy any freshly made, warm, sugary donuts? I think not. Plus, you don’t really have much choice with that sexy aroma lingering around the place.

Donuts at Carters Steam Fair
Sugar Donuts
WHEN I TELL YOU THE DONUTS WERE GOOD... ALL NOW I’M STILL THINKING ABOUT THEM!

You can tell I’m not a parent yet, cause here’s me racing towards the donuts and candy floss, when my cousin reminds me that the kids will throw it up if they have them before they go on the rides – huge LOLs. Besides, we had way too many rides to explore and I wasn’t leaving without making sure the kids had the best time ever.

There were so many rides to choose from that the kids didn’t know which to pick first- I love how much selection there was for them. There were a few rides for us big folk too which I think is really important at a fair. I hate to sound selfish – and I know I will – but the fun should always be extended to the adults… ALWAYS! Lol.


First up was the Jungle Thriller Ark…

Me getting ready to shut it down on my lil ark horsey…

Me getting ready to shut it down on my lil ark horsey…

And the kiddies couldn’t wait for the ride to start.

And the kiddies couldn’t wait for the ride to start.

It was super fun and I like being able to go on rides that we can all go on together.
One of my favourite rides is the bumper cars because all I’ve ever known on them is laughter- particularly with my Mum, Dad and sis- so taking the kids on this one was a VIBE- though my cousins have some questionable driving skills lol.

The Dodgems are one of my favourite funfair rides ever because they can just make anyone feel good right!?

The Dodgems are one of my favourite funfair rides ever because they can just make anyone feel good right!?

We also took the kids on the jets which they loved- you could adjust the ride to fly in the air or lower to the ground… thrill seeking must be in the genes because these kids wanted to go higher and higher- which is the total opposite of enthusiasm they had when they went into the Ghost train ride lol.

Other fave rides included; Skid (aka the Waltzers) The Gallopers and oh lets not forget the Ghost Train that made Asiah cry :-( She did not appreciate being squirted at with the ugly brides water gun hahaha. And the traditional hook a duck stalls etc where the girls won toys were such a nice touch- they chose their winning toys to be what I like to call the “spiral thing” that I used to be obsessed with when I was younger.

The Steam Gallopers are an English Victorian funfair classic.

The Steam Gallopers are an English Victorian funfair classic.

What was lovely though is actually knowing that their rides are restored by the same family that hosts the fair. The steam yachts for example are one of only two or three surviving examples of a stately ride which was apparently super popular in Britain at the turn of the 20th Century. They found the Steam Yachts in the 1970’s in a scrapyard in Scotland and upgraded it with a new engine and even painted it by hand – in fact, all their rides are handpainted.

You can really see how much the Carters pride themselves on being a traditional fair in the digital age- and I think there’s something really special about that! Joby Carter, fairground owner says: “ We are technically a family of Artists and the fair is our canvas, we handpaint everything using traditional methods keeping everything as you would have found it when new”.


Here’s a glance at the Carters practicing the art of Fairground Sign Writing

A remarkable, passionate and personal story of the art of Fairground Sign Writing, a unique art form that has been dying out, but has found fresh enthusiasm and interest with new generations, enthralled by the restoration of traditional fairground rides.

And if your interest in Sign Writing is something you’d like to learn more about, the Carters offer hands on courses for both adults and kiddies to get in on. That’s so cool! You can find out more here.

As well as Signwriting courses, the Carters fair also host lettering workshops and art & heritage tours.

As well as Signwriting courses, the Carters fair also host lettering workshops and art & heritage tours.

What was even nicer about the fair was how friendly the staff are because I’ve seen some miserable fairground staff in my time. I cannot wait to follow their journey of ride discovery and hope to visit again next year to see if they have any new additions.

Coming to a town near you

The Carters summer tour is still ongoing and I reckon they’re coming to a town near you soon! I’ve included the details of their tour dates below with locations, so if you’re looking for a little childlike fun with your crew or the kiddies, get yourself down there. No need to google “Funfair near me” to get your amusement park trip going- and remember, this year is all about trying and doing more of the things we love.

All in all, a lovely day out with the fam. I’m always looking for new exciting experiences in around London, and all over the world really. And if you’re like me in that way and want to try a new fair or follow the Carters journey with me, you can find them here.

 
Saphron London at Carters Steam Fair
 


If you do visit, I need pics! :D Oh and be sure to tell them that I sent yous!

Sx

 

*This experience was gifted by the lovely team at the Carters Fair.