Sidmouth isn’t the only place in the Sid Valley that is a hive of activity, the towns and villages around it also play host to a range of fun, fascinating events ranging from markets to food festivals and just about everything in between. One of the most celebrated and historic of these events in the Sidbury Fair which takes place over the course of a week in September every year.
Where is Sidbury?
Sidbury is a village situated in the Sid Valley, just outside of Sidmouth, it is thought to be one of the earliest settlements in Devon and has an iron age fort in the village. It also featured in the Domes Day Book, making it a great place for history fans to visit.
The village is situated along the River Sid and has a thriving community with many active clubs and organisations as well as a pub, The Red Lion, a shop, Drews, a primary school, a village hall and a village church, St Giles Church, which is situated in the centre of the village and is one of the few churches in the UK with a Saxon crypt onsite.
You can find more information and programmes about the Sidbury Fair at various points throughout the village including at the church, the pub and the shop. Entry forms to participate in a variety of activities that take place throughout the fair can also be picked up at those locations. Details are also available at Sidmouth Tourist Information Centre and online at the Sidbury Village website.
A fair fit for a King
Sidbury was granted a charter for a fair back in 1291 by King Edward I during his visit to Berwick Upon Tweed. According to the declaration issuing the charter, the fair was to be held for three days to cover the feast of the Virgin Mary in September and since then, the fair has involved to include traditional and modern activities that draw in great crowds each year.
One of the more traditional activities is the throwing of Hot Pennies, at the time, this was done to help the more impoverished villagers and has continued to this day. The pennies are thrown into the street and children run around to find and collect them – make sure you have your change to hand to join in!
Over the years, the fair has grown and while the livestock auction and the local produce and craft stalls are still a central part, the event also includes competitions and other activities allowing local clubs and organisations the chance to raise awareness for their work and also to raise funds.
You can find out more about Sidbury and the Sid Valley here and more information about the region’s big events here.