Horse fair to return to Main Street

The horse trading fair is set to take place on Ballyclare Main Street this year. (Archive pic).
The horse trading fair is set to take place on Ballyclare Main Street this year. (Archive pic).

The atmospheric sights and sounds of traditional horse trading will make a return to Ballyclare’s Main Street on the May Fair Day this year.

There had been controversy in recent years when the horse fair was moved away from its historic street setting, but this week Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council approved a proposal for the horses to return to Main Street.

The news has been welcomed by the May Fair Committee with the hope that the traditional fair atmosphere will return to the town.

A council spokesperson said: “The 2018 May Fair will have a traditional theme. This year’s highlights will include the horse fair, local music and entertainment combined with traditional craft demonstrations and workshops and will finish with a lantern parade and fireworks display.

“Following a review of the horse fair that was held in 2017, it is proposed that this would relocate from Sixmile Water Park to Main Street, with parking for horse traders being made available at Harrier Way Car Park.

“A secure area would be clearly marked out on the street within the designated area to allow the ‘flashing’ of horses. This would help reduce the risk of incidents which occurred in 2016 and 2017 and improve health and safety for the public and animal welfare.”

Cllr Tim Girvan proposed to accept the council’s recommendation. This was seconded by Ald Mandy Girvan.

Welcoming the motion’s approval, Vice Chair of the Ballyclare May Fair Committee, Michelle McGuigan said: “It’s great news that council has approved the horse fair moving back to its traditional spot on Main Street. This will hopefully bring the atmosphere back into the town, as this has been lost in previous years.

“The committee has listened to the local community as to what they would like the fair to be and this has been one of the main points.”

The Ballyclare May Fair Festival will take place from Saturday, May 19 to Saturday, May 26, inclusive. The horse trading fair will be held on Tuesday, May 22.