Lynn gears up for annual mart spectacle

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Excitement awaits for adrenaline junkies next week when two new rides make their debut at this year’s The Mart.

Funfair rides will be taking over Tuesday Market Place and the Common Staithe Quay from Wednesday next week.

West Norfolk mayor Colin Manning will be trying out some of the rides during the grand opening ceremony on Saturday, February 13.

Among the old favourites such as the dodgems and waltzers will be new additions, The Dominator and Star Flyer.

Mart chief steward Donald Gray is looking forward to The Mart, which is organised by the Showman’s Guild.

Mr Gray said: “We are really looking forward to returning to Lynn.

“The Mart is a huge part of the town’s history and we really enjoying continuing the tradition.”

The showmen will be arriving in the town on Wednesday evening to start setting up the popular fair rides.

The Tuesday Market car park will be closed to vehicles from 10pm on Wednesday.

All the lights and action will come to life next Saturday at noon after the dignitaries have officially opened the site.

Star Flyer will be appearing in Norfolk for the first time. Daredevils will be spun around before going up in the air, while the Dominator will see patrons going up in the air before being spun around.

Mr Gray said: “These rides have not been seen in Norfolk before.

“They are definitely for the adrenaline junkies as well as the old favourites.”

As always the fair will have a children’s day which will take place on Monday, February 15 from noon. Reduced rates will be on offer.

Mr Gray said: “Coming to The Mart is fantastic value and it doesn’t have to cost a penny. Come along and enjoy the fun.”

But, as preparations for the fair continue, new questions have been raised about council leaders’ handling of the historic event.

Opposition councillors have accused the ruling Conservative group of keeping them in the dark about the event, which will begin in the Tuesday Market Place next weekend.

But the administration insists its most recent meetings about the fair were only to review its operations.

The future of the Mart has been a big political issue since the death of three-year-old Rio Bell in a collision with a car near the site four years ago.

A task group was set up following the tragedy to look into the future running of the event.

But, speaking at last Thursday’s full council meeting, Labour leader John Collop said it still made sense for town councillors to have an input into the arrangements.

He said: “I find it incredibly strange things are discussed and the bulk of members don’t know what’s going on.”

But Elizabeth Nockolds, cabinet member for culture, heritage and health, said current discussions on the Mart were simply about how the event will be managed during its period on the square to ensure public safety.

She said: “All the rides are in the same place, all the meetings last about 20 minutes. It’s all operational stuff.”