Thousands of people made their way to Cumbria for the largest Gypsy and Traveler horse event in Europe.
The Appleby Horse Fair started today and runs until June 13th in the town of Appleby-in-Westmorland.
Around 40,000 people are expected to attend the annual event, which dates back more than 250 years.
The fair was canceled last year due to the pandemic.
But for 2022 it’s back with a bang as more than 10,000 travelers have set up camp in the city.
Dramatic drone images have revealed vast tracts of land covered in caravans near the town of Appleby-in-Westmorland, which has a population of just over 3,000.
The fair attracts many people who come to witness horse sales and the tradition of washing horses in the river.
Today stunning horses were seen parading through the town as good weather blessed the first day of the fair.
Travelers set out on horseback on the A-Roads with days or even weeks of trekking to celebrate the big party.
Local traffic rules have been changed to allow local roads to more easily open and close as needed this week.
Cumbria Police tweeted an appeal for motorists to be aware of “slow traffic” on the county’s roads.
The Appleby Horse Fair, which dates back to 1685, is a major cultural gathering for the Gypsy, Roma and Traveler communities.
Many today have taken their horses into the River Eden as part of a centuries-old tradition of washing the animals.
Earlier this week a horse tragically died and three people were injured in a collision between a horse-drawn carriage and a wagon on the A66.
The news came as the RSPCA called on visitors to the show not to sell or buy puppies.
Last year, the charity’s chief inspector, Rob Melloy, said his team saw an alarming number of puppies being sold and bought at the event.
He said: “I can’t stress enough to Appleby visitors that buying a puppy at the show really isn’t a good idea.
“Last year we saw a lot of puppies being sold and some were so sick they had to be put down by a vet.
“It’s so tragic, but if people keep buying them at the show, the breeders will keep bringing them every year.”
He added: “Likewise we strongly discourage people from bringing their own dogs to the event as it is incredibly crowded and noisy and there is no way they should ever be left in a vehicle so they are much better off at home .’
The Appleby Horse Fair has been canceled in 2020 due to the Covid Pandemic.
Billy Welch, the Gypsies and Travelers representative on the Coordination Group, had announced: “We are very disappointed but it would be irresponsible for the fair to take place at a time when everyone must do everything possible to stop the spread of the coronavirus .’
This year’s event has been pushed back a week to avoid a collision with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Interim Chief Superintendent Matt Kennerley of Cumbria Police said: “We were very aware that local celebrations wanted to take place and we wanted to mitigate the impact of migration to the county on these local celebrations.”
The fair will return to the traditional dates in 2023.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/09/thousands-descend-on-cumbria-for-first-day-of-appleby-horse-fair-16800956/ Thousands descend on Cumbria for the first day of the Appleby Horse Fair