The 'Premier League of funfairs' - delight as King's Lynn Mart returns
- Credit: Ian Burt Photography
King's Lynn Mart has been hailed as "the Premier League" of funfairs following its much-anticipated comeback.
The annual extravaganza was officially launched on Saturday (February 12), attracting hundreds of people to the Tuesday Market Place.
A staple event in the King's Lynn calendar, the mart attracts thousands of people to west Norfolk every year but was cancelled in 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But its return was greeted with a rapturous reception on Saturday afternoon as the traditional opening ceremony took place.
As usual, various dignitaries and showmen paraded through town, before the mart's proclamation was read aloud in the market place by borough councillor Graham Middleton.
Families and friends now have two weeks to enjoy a host of activities and entertainment at the funfair.
Chief steward Donald Grey was among those over the moon to be back after last year's disappointment.
He said: "I am really delighted; I absolutely love it. Simply being back in King's Lynn has brought such an adrenaline rush.
"That applies especially to the opening ceremony - it is unbelievable. When you compare us to the marts in other towns, we are Premier League and the rest are Championship."
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Mr Grey grew up in King's Lynn, making every return to the town as part of the mart particularly special for him.
He said being away due to coronavirus had prompted an important realisation.
"I am 70 years old now, but the last two years has taught me that I don't want to retire," added Mr Grey.
"I have always worked and never scrounged, so for us members of the Showmen's Guild it was terrible because we are all so used to working."
This year's mart is the 817th in King's Lynn's history.
The first recorded charter was in the 13th century, before Henry VIII granted a Valentine's fair in 1537.
It would, therefore, usually begin on Valentine's Day, but the decision was taken to bring the festivities forward this year for an extra two days of entertainment.
The fair will be staying open every day until Saturday, February 26, except on Sundays.
The traditional children's day will take place on Monday (February 14), when almost all of the amusements are just £1 per person.