Hook-a-duck, happy kids & Hank Marvin: Gibraltar Fair week 2015


Hot on the heels of the cardboard boat race on Saturday afternoon (see this post for more on that), saw the opening of the 2015 Gibraltar Fair on Saturday night. Another regular feature in the Gibraltar social calendar which we like to dip our toes into each year. Normally, we turn up early in the evening (ie well before 8pm) forgetting that the fair doesn’t start until around 8, and like a handful of other families with young children prowl around the fairground checking out which rides we might have a go on.

Over the years (this is our 7th Gibraltar Fair), it’s become apparent that we are a family of observers rather than ‘doers’. Usually after an hour or so of watching other people enjoying themselves, we manage to coerce our offspring to ‘have a go’ on the tame children’s version of the dodgems. Then we get a portion of calamares and chips in the Family Pavillion before heading home.

Every year we stand by this ride, a train which loops in a circle through a tunnel, and look on mesmerised. The ride itself is nothing remarkable (well we’ve never been on so we wouldn’t know) but the chap who performs on top of and around it certainly is! He wears a rather snazzy flamenco/disco dress with coordinating tights and Plimsoll shoes and dances about whacking the train passengers with a small broomstick! At times he rides along on the roof of the locomotive ducking under the tunnel at the very last minute, at others he juggles the two tennis balls masquerading as bosoms, tossing them high into the air and catching them in his top! He really has to be seen to be believed. If anything says Gibraltar Fair to me it’s him.

This year, despite much encouragement our children refused to partake in any of the rides at all. The fair however, isn’t just about the rides there are stalls as well run by local charity and voluntary groups. The Lions had a raffle as usual, there was a plant raffle and the Girl Guides were selling cupcakes among a few others. But there’s one stall which is bound the attract our boys, hook-a-duck!

As we have done every year since we arrived in Gibraltar, our youngest two handed over their money to the ladies and merrily hooked their way to win their prizes. They may not have wanted to go on a ride but they experienced all the fun of the fair as they fished their yellow plastic ducks out of the water! They were thrilled with their prizes of a ping-pong ball pistol and a puzzle cube. 

Armed with juice, a plastic tub of candy floss (it doesn’t taste the same as it did when I was a kid) and a couple of lagers for Mum and Dad, we took our seats in the Family Pavillion. Each night different acts perform shows on the stage there, singing dancing and magic have all featured before now. In previous years we’ve stayed until the beginning of a show and then something’s happened, a poorly child, a tired child, a frightened child and so we have had to up and leave just as the fun starts. This year that wasn’t the case, not only did we see the start of the show, we saw the middle and the end! We had happy kids, who despite being embarrassed at their old Mum singing along to ‘Sounds of the Sixties’, were quite happy to stay put and enjoy the evening. 

We were even serenaded by a Hank Marvin tribute (although I thought he was a bit more Austin Powers than Hank Marvin)!

And so it ended, with one child asleep in a buggy, and the other two content and awake. Our route home required that we pass the churros stand…


… It would’ve been rude not to have some don’t you think?! Churros and hot chocolate was the perfect way to end our longest and most successful trip to the Gibraltar Fair yet. And who knows, next time we might actually ride on something!

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