Tag: story

Catering, Event Planning, Fun Story, funfair events, Funfair Rides

Newcastle Hoppings, A Major Fair

1 June 2021

Newcastle Hoppings is the largest travelling funfair in Europe (though both Nottingham Goose fair and Hull Fair also claim the title). A major fixture in the funfair calendar. Held in the North East city of Newcastle Upon Tyne over 9 days in June.

With over 300,000 visitors a year, and featuring over 60 major adult rides, and a plethora of children’s rides, games and catering to match. The event is held in June to coincide with the Northumberland Plate. Part of the flat season races for horses of three years or older.

It is situated on the Town Moor, a large grazing land just outside the city centre (during the first world war it was held in Jesmond). The showmen commonly refer to the event as the Town moor, or even just ‘The Moor’, rather than the hoppings name used by the locals.

Temperance Festival Association

The driving force behind the establishment of the hoppings, was Alderman William Davies Stephens, chairman of the Temperance Festival Association. The association, typical of the Victorian era do gooders, felt that the horse race would attract drinking and gambling. They wanted to provide a temperance festival for the miners and other workers as an alternative, to save them from the fires of damnation.

I suppose in a way it was a better idea than the Americans had. Our abstinence gave us a major funfair, the American prohibition gave them Al Capone.

Early Years

In the beginning, the event will have been typical of fairs of that era, stalls, games and sideshows would have formed the bulk of the event. Indeed in the North East, funfairs are often referred to as ‘The shows’ in allusion to the preponderance of that type of attraction.

Funfair Sideshow
Funfair Sideshow

These tended to be animal managaries, or the popular at the time human freak shows. Large steam powered rides were appearing on funfairs by then, and quite possibly would have attended the hoppings, but at that time they were still a supporting act.

Over the next 50 years the event began to resemble what we would recognise today. With some of the early thrill rides appearing, Octopus, dive bomber, waltzers, all designed to fly you higher, spin you faster and scare witless.

Shaws Moonrocket
Shaws Moonrocket

A well known ride, the Moonrocket of Shaws, built in 1939. This was typical of the early rides that would have appeared at the Town Moor.

The Modern Era

Nowadays, well not 2020, and possibly not 2021 due to the little matter of a global pandemic, most of the top rides from around the UK appear at the event. Immaculate examples of the old favourites such as dodgems and Waltzers still jostle with the thrill rides for customers. There are fabulous examples of all the current funfair games, children’s rides and food stalls.

Newcastle Hoppings Funfair
Newcastle Hoppings Funfair

A look at the fair from the air shows the sheer scale of the event. Hull and Nottingham might possibly have more rides in attendance, or be classed as bigger due to some other statistic. But for sheer acreage, there isn’t anything else in the UK that comes near.

2013 was notable for the fair being cancelled due to the severe weather leaving the ground in a poor state. Work has since been carried out to improve drainage and add a metalled road to prevent a recurrence.


The event was always noted for the free riding the showmen provided for a number of charities, the Variety club would bus as estimated 3000 children in to enjoy the showmen’s efforts, usually on the first evening of the event.

Indeed records indicate that the very first year of the festival saw a tea provided for 1000 of the cities poorest children.

The Name Hoppings

When we used to attend the event, I often wondered about just why it was called the Hoppings. I presumed it was one of those stories lost in time. However recently I came across the official website for the event, maintained by the Freeman of the City/Newcastle Council. They offered two possible explanations for the name. One is that hopping was a very old name for a dance.

The other explanation the offer, is that the showmen used to wear sacks as cloths. These would become infested with fleas and the showmen being bitten would ‘hop’ about. Hmm, the photo below is a typical old image of showmen. Actually one of our earliest corporate entertainment crew who provided a show for Queen Victoria. Take a look, although it is in a poor state, it sure looks to me like they were wearing regular type cloths. Nary a cloth sack in sight.

Candy Floss Crazy Corporate Team
Candy Floss Crazy Corporate Team


Discovering Heritage https://discoveringheritage.com/2019/06/27/the-first-newcastle-hoppings/

Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hoppings

Hoppings Funfairs http://hoppingsfunfairs.com/

Fun Story

Darts Games, Tips For Winning At The Funfair

2 May 2021

There are usually a plethora of darts games at any funfair event. Darts are easy, anyone can throw a dart, they don’t cost a lot to set up so they tend to be popular.

Funfair Darts

One point to remember is that the darts on a fairground will have been used thousands of times, so they tend to be about as sharp as your elbow. They are also cheaply made, they don’t have the balance and accuracy of a competition set and the flights are usually a bit ragged. Some operators will let you use your own darts, so it is always worth asking.

Bust A Balloon

One popular game looks to easy to be true. You throw a dart and buts a balloon, easy peasy right? Sadly it is too easy to be true. The balloons are only partially inflated, so they tend to have a massive amount of flexibility. Coupled to the aforementioned non razor sharp darts they tend to be surprisingly difficult to pop. It is certainly possible to win, but don”t think it is easy.

Bust A Balloon Game
Bust A Balloon Game

Stick 3 Separate Cards

Another mainstay game. Stick a dart in three different cards, its only about a six foot throw so any competent dart player should walk this one. Ha, the cards tend to be mounted on quite dense wooden panels, a nice steady accurate throw will see your dart bounce off. Just hitting the card is no good, the dart actually has to remain stuck in the card.

There is also a subtle variation which helps you lose. This one tends to have more cards on the board so it looks easier, but you need to have not only three separate cards, but they have to be separate suites and separate numbers. As in many things no one reads the rules so they tend not to pick up on the rules until after the have thrown the darts.

If you can swing using your own darts it’s definitely much easier, though it will probably ruin the tips of your darts, so don’t use an expensive set.


Or in full, “Read The F***ing Rules”. One of the biggest problems with darts games is the one where as you walk up you see a giant teddy with a sign hung around it’s neck proudly proclaiming “ME IF YOU LOSE”.

Sauntering up to the stall, you pony up your £1-50 to have a try. I mean it’s a no brainer, it’s only going to cost you £1-50. The worst you can do is walk away with a prize that would retail for 40 quid at least.

The darts are thrown and yippee, you have won, it was so easy you wonder that anyone ever loses. You bask in the sunlight of glory, for once you are one of life’s winners. Oh your face is a picture when the guy on the stall hands you a keyring as your prize. You start to argue, which is when he points to the rule board, it shows clearly the paltry prizes for winning. The super stuff is reserved for the losers on this one. And that is the rub. You can lose but it’s bloody difficult.

Usually it is three darts, you have to score over 6 to win with three separate numbers. Sticking the same number twice will be counted as 6, and missing the board will also be counted as 6. In fact the only was to lose is to score 1,2,3.

All they have really done is swap win and lose around. It relies on peoples greed blinding their common sense. This isn’t exclusive to darts games and similar techniques can be found on other stalls.

Catering, Fun Story

Son’s Of Amazon offer a caffeine buzz

29 April 2019

Do you know what the most used drug is? No not marijuana, not cocaine or pills surprisingly but caffeine. It seems that everyone both young and old crave that Caffeine Buzz

I’m sure you’re not unfamiliar with that caffeine buzz, the restlessness, the increased heartbeat, the nausea the sweaty palms and the inability to fall asleep all from one cup of coffee. And if you want a quicker buzz then you go for the espresso option the short black coffee option. But the more you drink the more you build up a tolerance.

Caffeine Buzz

Coffee lovers might remember when they first started drinking coffee and the kick they got from it but now they have to scour the shops to find a blend of coffee that still offers a kick in one cup. The sweet coffee smell the strong bitter taste well the search is finally over. A company called Sons Of Amazon claim to be the owners of the strongest coffee in the UK.

A standard 8oz cup of coffee is said to have around 110mg of caffeine but Sons of Amazon’s coffee blend has four times that amount with their motto reading ‘Strong enough to wake the dead’ you know that this coffee is going to be strong enough to blow your socks off.

Sons Of Amazon Strong Coffee

The Brains Behind The Coffee

Eric Witham is the brains behind the coffee stating that not only well known for the strength his coffee is also ethically sourced with no chemicals being used to increase the substances in the roasting process. Witham is said to have tested many different coffee beans from different farms before deciding on the best.

Despite being over 100% stronger than the standard cup of coffee it is advertised on the website as being anything but horrifically bitter. After looking at some of the reviews online I am now off to order myself a bag for the long days and nights you face in the event industry I now feel like my body has become too immune to caffeine and I have to have a few cups throughout the day to get the old affect so hopefully this can restore my faith and bring back a caffeine kick experience.

Some customer reviews read;

“Didn’t know what to expect from a coffee claiming to be so strong but I was very pleasantly surprised by what I found. Great tasting coffee with a caffeine kick that will keep you going throughout the day. Will 100% buy again and recommend to friends. “

Whilst another review stated ;

“Surprisingly smooth for something so strong. (There’s definitely a joke in there somewhere…. about liking my men the way I like this coffee) Will definitely buy again.”

You can purchase a packet of these coffee beans on Amazon.