Victorian Fair celebration in park

Sunburst gates at Princes Park

Princes Park in Liverpool is taking a step back to Victorian days on Saturday (23 May)– to celebrate work which is bringing together the local community.

A Victorian fair will be held from 12 to 4pm to launch a wooden henge and recognise other work which is encouraging stronger community ties and building local pride.

It will also celebrate the life of the park’s designer Joseph Paxton who died 150 years ago as a fair was held in the 1840s at the park’s opening

The Henge  – based on Stonhenge – has been created out of oak trees and reclaimed wood and creates a unique seating area.

It has been funded by  the People’s Health Trust, using money raised by HealthFit through the Health Lottery.  Sculptor John Merrill and potter John Ayling  were involved in its design. Although young people have been heavily involved in its creation many other residents have also participated. In fact, the ages of those involved range from nine to 93.

The names of all those who have been involved in creating the henge are carved into its lintels.

The fair, which will be opened by Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Tony Concepcion , will also feature displays by a number of community groups. Members of the Somali Women’s Group, for example, have been learning Victorian dances and will demonstrate them. And the Unity Youth group will be showing off circus skills.

There will free rides in a tethered hot air balloon ; Victorian crafts and games and  rides through the park in a horse and carriage; donkey rides; croquet and  a free afternoon tea. There will also be a funfair with paying rides.

The fair has been organised by the Friends of Princes Park, Liverpool City Council youth service, Plus Dane and the People’s Health Trust , Your Housing and LMH.

Katy Gardner Chair of the Friends of Princes Park, said:  “This will be a fantastic and unique event with activities for everyone and a chance to celebrate and enjoy our wonderful park.”

“It’s going to be a marvellous event,” said Councillor Steve Munby, cabinet member for neighbourhoods. “Not only are there a lot of fun activities but it is a way of bringing the community even closer together.

“Over the last three years, with the work on the henge, young people and older residents have come together to create something of real value.

“And the fair will also showcase Princes Park which is a real gem. Those brave enough to go up in the balloon will have a very different view of it – it’s one occasion when, as a politician, I’m all in favour of hot air!”