AFTER enduring a two-year wait for the bridge to re-open, the patience of Ovingham villagers is to be tested yet further.
For the village’s historic and much-loved Goose Fair will not return to Ovingham until 2018.
The event, traditionally held on the third Saturday in June, dates back to the 13th century.
And after its reinstatement in 1969, the Goose Fair became an important and much-anticipated event in the village’s calendar.
However the fair was cancelled in 2014 as long-running improvement works to Ovingham Bridge got under way.
The green on which the Goose Fair is held was used as one of the work compounds, housing site offices, staff parking, equipment and materials.
And as the repair work to Ovingham Bridge stretched on, eventually taking over two years, the Goose Fair was unable to return to the village.
In the summer of 2014, a smaller Gosling Fair was held in the village reading rooms on the traditional third Saturday in June.
And in 2015, another Gosling Fair was held, with a traditional procession to the reading rooms for stalls and an evening of live entertainment.
When Ovingham Bridge finally reopened to traffic in September 2016, there were hopes that 2017 could mark the return of the Goose Fair.
However work to reinstate the village green was delayed due to heavy rainfall.
Heavy machinery was unable to access the waterlogged land.
And the cold snap that followed prevented the green from being reseeded.
It is anticipated that work to repair and reinstall the green will be able to begin in spring this year.
However, the area will not be ready in time for this year’s fair in June.
It is now hoped that the Ovingham Goose Fair will make a triumphant return to the village in June 2018.
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