Thursday 18 January 2018

Baby bling and horse play at travellers' annual fair

18 month old David Briganti, from Gateshead in the River Eden at the Appleby Horse Fair, the annual gathering of gypsies and travellers in Appleby, Cumbria.
18 month old David Briganti, from Gateshead in the River Eden at the Appleby Horse Fair, the annual gathering of gypsies and travellers in Appleby, Cumbria.
Jeff Nesham, 16, and 18 month old David Briganti, from Gateshead ride on their horse in the River Eden at the Appleby Horse Fair, the annual gathering of gypsies and travellers in Appleby, Cumbria.
Sharmaine Mitchell watches over the campsite at the Appleby Horse Fair, the annual gathering of gypsies and travellers in Appleby, Cumbria.
Traveller Jeff Nesham, 16, in the River Eden at the Appleby Horse Fair, the annual gathering of gypsies and travellers in Appleby, Cumbria.
A traveller rides a horse in the River Eden at the Appleby Horse Fair, the annual gathering of gypsies and travellers in Appleby, Cumbria.
Sharmaine Mitchell watches over the campsite at the Appleby Horse Fair, the annual gathering of gypsies and travellers in Appleby, Cumbria.
People wash their horses in the River Eden at the Appleby Horse Fair, the annual gathering of gypsies and travellers in Appleby, Cumbria.
A man washes his horse in the River Eden at the Appleby Horse Fair, the annual gathering of gypsies and travellers in Appleby, Cumbria.
Jeff Nesham, 16, and 18 month old David Briganti, from Gateshead ride on their horse in the River Eden at the Appleby Horse Fair, the annual gathering of gypsies and travellers in Appleby, Cumbria.
People wash their horses in the River Eden at the Appleby Horse Fair, the annual gathering of gypsies and travellers in Appleby, Cumbria (taken with Tilt Shift Lens).
A man washes his horse in the River Eden at the Appleby Horse Fair, the annual gathering of gypsies and travellers in Appleby, Cumbria
A general view of the campsite at the Appleby Horse Fair, the annual gathering of gypsies and travellers in Appleby, Cumbria.

Tara Cunningham

The sleepy Cumbrian town of Appleby which normally has a population of 2,500 has come awake this week to celebrate the traditional Appleby Horse Fair.

Over 10,000 members of the traveller and gypsy communities will descend on the event over the course of the week.

A large proportion of those in attendance will be from the Irish travelling community.

A further 30,000 visitors are also expected to attend to soak up the rich atmosphere and culture to be witnessed.

The Fair officially opened its gates at 4am yesterday morning, as thousands of Travellers flocked to River Eden, Cumbria.

The Appleby Fair which is held every year in June has taken place since the reign of James II. It was James II who granted a Royal charted in 1685 allowing a horse fair to take place near the River Eden.

Travellers converge in their traditionally painted gypsy caravans annually to Appleby for the week, which normally has a population of 2,500, to buy and sell horses, meet with friends and relations.

Last year, the Appleby Fair feature in the highly popular TV series My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.

It was revealed as a place for travellers to display their best.

And 18-month-old David Briganti from Gateshead was certainly the flashest baby around, wearing a solid gold soother.

Yesterday, as the sun shone, travellers bathed their horses in the River Eden, whilst others were thrown from their horses into the river.

At the fair, the horses are washed and groomed. They are then ridden along the ‘mad mile’ at high speed, where they are shown off to prospective buyers.

Jeff Nesham, 16 years, and David Briganti, 18 months, showed off their horse on the opening day of the fair, which is one of the highlights of the traveller calendar.

The fair also features market stalls selling food and other horse related merchandise, whilst other sources of entertainment at the fair include fortune telling and palm reading.

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