About the Hoppings

A Brief History

The Hoppings is a major annual event in the North East; showmen travel from all over the country to attend. It is said to be the largest non-permanent fair in the world, perhaps because unlike many similar fairs held in streets, this one is in a large open space covering 28-30 acres. The amusements have changed from steam driven, ornately carved and decorated roundabouts to the white knuckle rides of today but the fair remains a temperance event. The fair is always held during the last full week in June.

Several origins have been suggested for the name. Most relate to dancing, the word ‘hopping’ meaning a dance in Middle English (Old fairs included dancing). Another idea stems from the clothing which the travellers use to wear – old, sack-like tops and pants. Clothing often became infested with fleas from the animals that travelled with the fair. People were often seen ‘jumping’ or ‘hopping’ about, itching from the bites which they received. Or the name may derive from the Anglo-Saxon word “hoppen” meaning funfair.

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