Oxford Fair

The first thing I noticed when I moved to Oxford, was how the colleges dominate the architecture and draw countless academics, students and tourists to the city. Once a year though, while the students are on holidays, the centre of Oxford  transforms into a huge fun fair for two days and it feels like another place. The fair itself dates back to 1625 and has taken on many forms over the centuries. Now it is an explosion of bright lights, modern rides and a helter skelter that eclipses the calm exteriors of the grand colleges on St. Giles.  About 100,000 people were expected this year and that was easy to believe as I tried to make my way through the crowd with my camera. The contrast of old and new could be found everywhere, from the mechanical octopus that rotated riders about 100ft high over the ancient walls to the choice that you could make between a traditional coconut shy and the Hollywood themed stall pictured. Then it suddenly disappears and St Giles returns to its everyday life for another year.



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