Lynn’s historic Mart has opened this afternoon, with hundreds of people gathering in the Tuesday Market Place for the occasion.
They cheered as borough mayor Carol Bower formally opened the 814th annual fair with a nod to the typically chilly weather that greeted its arrival.
She said: “This is February. We don’t expect it to be blazing hot and we’re not disappointed. The wonderful thing about today is it’s brisk and it’s not raining.”
In keeping with tradition, Mrs Bower led a host of civic dignitaries in the first ride on the dodgems, before going “with more reluctance to some of the more exciting rides.”
She added: “Remembering last year, I should have stuck to the children’s tea cups, but even they get me giddy.
“I suspect that most of you are braver than I am, so I hope you are all able to really enjoy yourselves this year and take advantage of all the hard work done by so many in setting up this great event.”
The Mart is traditionally the first event of the year for the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain, whose members provide the rides and attractions which make up the fair.
Mrs Bower wished the Showmen well for the forthcoming season, while West Norfolk Council deputy leader Elizabeth Nockolds read the charter of the fair, which was granted by King John in 1204.
Other civic guests at the ceremony included MP Sir Henry Bellingham and mayors from across the region.
But guild national president John Culine said it was the people who make the fair what it is.
He said: “You, the people of King’s Lynn, respect that charter, respect this fair and support it.
“We have a lot of civic guests here today and a lot of important people, but I want you to remember that the most important people here today are you, the public of King’s Lynn, the owners of this charter.
“I love coming to this town. I love the welcome we get. Please have a happy and a safe Mart fair.”
The Mart is open until February 24.