We’ve lived in Cambridge for over 7 years, and 3 years of that was near Mill Road – a lively road with lots of shops, cafes and bars that give a real multicultural and independent atmosphere to the area, so much so that there was much opposition when a Tesco express and Costa Coffee opened up on the road. However, I have never made it to the Mill Road Winter Fair that runs on the first Saturday in December every year. Tom went last year and the year before with Andrew, but I’d decided to have my usual peaceful and restful Saturday morning about the flat. But as this year was my (and Joel’s) last chance before we leave Cambridge to experience the atmosphere of the fair, which Tom highly recommended, I thought I’d give it a go and we all went as a family.
As with most events these days, we were up and about much earlier than it started – we arrived at one end of the road at about 10am, but things weren’t due to start up properly until 10.30am. So we stopped at the park for a while, and had a run around with the ball, and Andrew went on the playground. We could see that some stalls were ready, so we went over slowly and walked through some tents which had all sorts of local crafts on display, and some great Christmas present ideas. We decided to buy some homemade biscuits, and as we walked over to a space to stop and have our snacks, Daddy told us that this particular bit of road was where the fire engine was meant to be stationed.
There was no sign of it yet, but just as Daddy walked around to see if it was further down the road, it pulled up! Andrew was most impressed, and we stood there watching the fire-fighters get their stall outside the engine ready as we had our snack. They told us we had to wait until the road was closed to traffic at 10.30am before they would let people see inside the fire engine, so we wandered on and came back 10 minutes later to look inside. Andrew got to climb up into the cab and put on a fire helmet, whilst the fireman explained what the breathing apparatus was behind the seats that he was sat on.
We then wandered down the road a bit more, and passed various stalls outside the shops on our way. There was food from all over the world, live music from various types of musician/band, and other entertainments and activities, including a jester that Andrew was fascinated by. The boys love listening to music, particularly when it’s live, so we had to stop and listen/dance several times. Apart from the inevitable music stops, we were also shown how to make a simple angel decoration for the Christmas tree at one stall. Another attraction that grabbed Andrew’s attention was the free red helium balloons that they were giving away at one of the churches on the road. The first one he was given flew away within about 10 seconds (see the sky photo below – I don’t think he quite understood that it wouldn’t come back if he let go!), so he was kindly offered another and kept hold of that until we tied it onto him.
Half way down this long road is a railway bridge, so of course we had to stop and look at the trains going in and out of the station for a few minutes, until we persuaded him that there was more interesting stuff to see and do further on. More helium balloons could be spotted in the distance, purple ones not red this time, but first we had to navigate through a crowd of people watching the Morris dancers in the middle of the road! That was fun to watch for a while, as was a drumming band and a flute quartet.
As we neared the end of the road, which Andrew had keenly walked all the way down, and Joel was on my back most of the time, they were both clearly getting tired from all the activity. There was just one last thing to stop and look at: a bike hooked up to a generator which powered an amplifier system so that when someone pedalled the bike you could hear a band play! Daddy thought this was very clever, though Andrew was more concerned to say hello to a giant penguin who was walking round giving out treats from his stocking.
We didn’t get chance to stop and look at everything or do all the free activities for kids on the way, there was just so much going on. The atmosphere was amazing, so good to see such a lively and friendly community spirit, with people from all different walks of life sharing their talents, cuisine and Christmas messages. I’m glad Joel and I got to go to this fair before we leave Cambridge, I will definitely remember the fun we had, even if he doesn’t!
Linking up with #CountryKids again, because outdoor fun can happen anywhere, in the middle of a city as well as in the countryside 🙂
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