All images by Adam Cash
Fantastic street food, family activities, storytelling, music, local stalls and festive shopping – the Mill Road Winter Fair is here!
Eat, drink, shop, dance, play, make and be merry at the marvellous Mill Road Winter Fair, which returns for its annual outing on 3 December. One of the most treasured events in the local calendar, the Winter Fair attracts thousands each year, offering a joyful day-long celebration of not just the Mill Road neighbourhood but the whole Cambridge community. As ever, there’s more food and fun than you can shake your woolly mitten at, plus a plethora of stalls selling everything from Christmas decorations to handmade books and artworks, not to mention plenty of family activities to get stuck into.
“It really is a sensory experience for your eyes, ears and palate,” says Marisa from the Mill Road Winter Fair team. “There is loads of entertainment on offer: you can participate in the parade, listen to wandering storytellers, learn juggling in the circus workshops or just hear more about local community groups you may want to get involved with. There is so much right here on your doorstep. Best yet: enjoy eating and walking the whole stretch of Mill Road!” Here’s a taster of what’s happening at this year's event...
Loud, colourful and positively bursting with community spirit, the parade is one of the highlights of the Mill Road Winter Fair each year. Bringing together local schools, clubs and organisations, this year’s theme is ‘Over the Rainbow’. The parade will begin at 12.30pm at Romsey Terrace (next to Cutlacks) and snake its way down to Petersfield by 1.30pm. Led by Michelle Smith of Creative Movements, the enthusiastic participants – which include Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion – will be attempting to create a walking rainbow as they ease on down the yellow brick (Mill) road!
The Mill Road Winter Fair is always a fabulously foodie affair, with tempting aromas emanating from all corners and delicious eats from around the world to enjoy every few steps. This year’s event will be no exception, with the Gwydir Street car park food market returning to offer scrumptious edibles from some of Cambridge’s finest street food traders. Tuck into gigantic gourmet burgers from Steak & Honour, vibrant vegetarian cuisine from The Wandering Yak, tasty Caribbean fare from The Lick and tempting Taiwanese street food from LingLing’s Steam Kitchen.
For a hot drink and wedge of home-made cake, stop by at Caffé Mobile, or for a drink with a little more oomph to warm you up, local brewery Lord Conrad’s will be serving up their brilliant brews.
There’ll be plenty more to feast on throughout the day too, but one of our very favourite annual happenings occurs just slightly off the beaten track down Gwydir Street at the Cambridge Blue pub. Pop in and enjoy a blissfully warming mulled wine while meeting some real-life reindeers – a truly magical Mill Road experience.
A jamboree of colour and fun, there’s always loads for little ones to marvel at and get stuck into at the fair. This year, the team from Cambridge Museums will be showing off intriguing artefacts from the various collections and leading fun, hands-on activities for children at the Salisbury Club at 4pm. CHaOS (Cambridge Hands-On Science) are also back with lots of interactive sciencey fun for all ages – be sure to take an inquisitive spirit and prepare to be dazzled by mind-bending experiments and activities!
Community-run library Little Bookworms will be there too, laying on craft activities and a reading of The Rainbow Fish at Ross Street Community Centre (from 10am to 11.30am). Pop by for free tea, coffees and biscuits, and a lovely story.
Also spinning a yarn or two will be Cambridge Storytellers, who stop by at St Barnabas Centre (just behind the church) at 1pm and 3pm. Step in from the cold outside and be enthralled by these seasoned raconteurs, who will be regaling listeners with stories old and new, from near and far, for children of all ages.
MUSIC & ARTS
Soak up the sounds of local talent at the Cambridge 105 stage, which this year will be located in front of Tesco. The community radio station will be hosting six live bands, as well as broadcasting live from the fair throughout the day.
There’s also a chance to enjoy some lively Latin carnival sounds from Arco Iris, the Cambridge Community Samba Band, who will be leading the parade, as well as a busy line-up of music and stalls at the Argyle Street Housing Co-operative.
Known for being one of Cambridge’s most creative corners, Mill Road is a hotbed of artistic output. This will be celebrated at the fair, with events including an art show at Hope Street Yard (complete with mulled wine and tasty food), roaming physical theatre from Infusion, and the creation of a huge temporary labyrinth at Petersfield on the corner of Mill Road and East Road.
“The fair is the perfect excuse to shop early for Christmas and buy local!” says Marisa from the Mill Road Winter Fair team. “All of the stalls are independents and local to Mill Road, Cambridge or the county. I love hearing the stories behind the products from the vendors themselves.”
Lining the whole stretch of Mill Road will be all manner of stalls, selling Christmas decorations, gifts, art and crafts, handmade books, clothing and more – making the fair the perfect chance to blitz your Christmas list, while supporting local shops and makers.
It’s quite easy to simply stroll and munch your way around the fair but there’s also opportunities to get active if the mood takes you (even if it’s only to stave off the chills!). Cambridge Community Circus will be running workshops on Mortimer Road between 12pm and 3.30pm, at which you can have a go at everything from juggling to plate spinning.
For something a little more sedate but equally brilliant for boosting your well-being, check out Taoist Tai Chi Society, who will be putting on displays as well as answering your questions throughout the day. You can even try your hand, or more accurately mid-section, at belly dancing at the Dance Gala run by Razzamataz, which will be taking place at Bharat Bhavan.
Brand new for this year’s fair is the Dog Show, which will take place at Petersfield (the green area at the junction between Mill Road and East Road). Reckon your pooch could be prizeworthy? Pop along at 10.30am and enter them into categories including Dog & Owner Look Alike, Waggiest Tail or Best Rescue Dog. It’s open to dogs of six months and older and there are some great, Christmassy prizes up for grabs, plus those all-important rosettes.
The Mill Road Winter Fair takes place on Saturday, 3 December, from 10.30am until 4.30pm.