INTERNATIONAL Antiques and Collectors’ Fairs (IACF) are to pilot a one-day Monday fair at Newbury Racecourse with two dates confirmed for this year of June 28 and August 2.
IACF stallholders had expressed a preference for a one-day fair at a central sizeable venue and Newbury Racecourse's central southern England location means that exhibitors can realistically travel there and back in a day.
Newbury Racecourse is ten minutes from the M4, and close to the M3 and A34. The racecourse has its own station with direct access to London Paddington (40 minutes) and the West Country.
In response to stallholders' opinions, this is the second one-day fair announced by IACF, who confirmed last month that they are scrapping their two-day event held at Swinderby Airfield in favour of a Monday only fair to be held at the site.
At Newbury there will be 90 indoor pitches and 250 outside pitches available. Indoor stands will cost £60 and pre-booked outside pitches £40, with casual outside pitches available on the day for £60. This compares to £150 for a two-day inside stand at Newark and £120 for a two-day outside pitch. Opening times for buyers are 8am for the trade (£10) and 10am for the public (£5). There is car parking for 3000 vehicles.
Robert Thomas, IACF director, is confident that the venue will be a success.
"There is a real niche for a fair in this part of the country, particularly over the summer months, so it was an obvious choice for us to start a new event," he said.
Speaking of IACF's fair at Shepton Mallet in March, Mr Thomas added: "We had a fantastic response from dealers at this fair and are looking forward to adding more dates to our calendar next year."
IACF are not the first organisers to run antiques fairs at Newbury Racecourse. Back in 2001/2 Matthew Adams of Adams Antiques Fairs held eight fairs at the course, before selling it to Sue Ede and Robert Pugh (Towy Fairs), who themselves ran it for a year.
Although Berkshire offers a number of small fairs and markets, the only upmarket fair in the county was the East Berkshire Antiques & Fine Art Fair held in Maidenhead at the Berkshire College of Agriculture.
This was revived from an existing fair by Cooper Events, owned by Sue Ede. It ran three times in the spring and summer of 2008/9 although the fair was dropped from Cooper's portfolio at the end of last year.
Now a local Maidenhead antiques dealer, Martin Lister, is taking on the fair. A regular exhibitor at the venue and many others including the NEC, Mr Lister's first fair at the college is scheduled for May 1-3.