Articles

The Strawberry Fair is an annual event held on the first Saturday of June on Midsummer Common, Cambridge. It is free to the public and its purpose is to provide entertainment for the community. A Steering Group made up of residents of Cambridge are picked to be the organising committee. Other groups are also formed to take care of planning and finance, reporting to the main group at monthly meetings. While the musicians are predominantly local, travelling bands are more than welcome to join the festivities and impress the fairgoers. Younger performers are given a separate stage, and children have their own play area with a circus tent and face painters leading the list of amusements to keep them occupied. There is also a section for artists to display their wares with all would-be artisans encouraged to try their hand. Though the Fair officially begins at midday, it is preceded by a parade at 11.30am which begins in the city centre. Then the city is lit up with amazing costumes and the party can begin. Since 2004, the fair has been extended with the addition of a ‘film night’ that begins once the revelry from the fair has died down. What marks this out as such a special event is the Community spirit displayed to make it happen. There are over 1000 people who dedicate time and effort for no financial reward. Barring the security team, everyone you see working at the fair is there on a voluntary basis. Their reward is seeing the joy on everyone’s faces. The Strawberry Fair Committee is always on the look out for volunteers, and it helps raise money to stage the event through various fundraising events throughout the year. Normally, the musicians who play free at these benefits also do so during the fair. Whatever money is made on the day of the fair from sales of merchandise is also used to fund the event. On 3 June 2006, the fair hit the headlines by becoming the first free festival in the world to have free internet access on its premises. The whole of Midsummer Common accommodated anyone with internet access at the fair.