End of road for street fair
WEDNESDAY'S Cliff Lane Street Fair could be the last, The Evening Star can today reveal.Organisers of the event, the only one in Ipswich, feel the future of the fair is under threat unless more businesses get involved.
WEDNESDAY'S Cliff Lane Street Fair could be the last, The Evening Star can today reveal.
Organisers of the event, the only one in Ipswich, feel the future of the fair is under threat unless more businesses get involved.
Since December 1998, traders in Cliff Lane have organised the twice-yearly fairs that have become an important part of east Ipswich life.
George Debman, who helps organise the event, said: "We are hoping for a really good turn out on Wednesday but it might be the last street fair.
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"Unfortunately, one or two shopkeepers put the effort in and the rest get the benefits but are not prepared to support it.
"We are doing it to promote the parade and to raise money for local charities but it would be nice if one or two of the newer businesses rolled their sleeves up.
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"I would like to see the street fair continue but it would be nice to get a bit more help."
Ipswich Borough Council closes off the road and re-routes buses to enable a wide selection of independent charity stalls and activities for all ages.
The event runs from 6pm to 8pm on Wednesday and there will be a wide range of entertainment including the Ipswich over 50s Brass Band and a majorettes group.
Mr Debman said more than £10,000 has been raised for charity and added: "When we started six years ago the parade was half empty but the street fair has encouraged people to come into Cliff Lane.
"It is a community event and I am really pleased about it, especially with the demise of the carnival.
"It is something that people look forward to and it is nice to do something for charity and the community."
Wednesday's fair will be the 12th time it has been held and Mr Debman has been surprised with its success.
He said: "When we first talked about it, the original idea was as a promotional event and there was no way that we would be still doing it six years later.
"But the first one was a huge success and there are a lot of people in the community who have supported it and enjoyed it.
"Two summers ago it was really hot and we had about 2,000 people here and you could not move.
"It is an opportunity to get away from the television and go out and sample a fun evening with free entertainment and enjoy the experience. It is Ipswich's answer to the Notting Hill Carnival."
n If you would like to book a stall or perform at the fair, contact George Debman on 01473 251686.
n What do you think of the Cliff Lane Street Fair? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to email@example.com or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk