In 2010, when the Fair was on 4th December, we launched a new website millroadwinterfair.org with the help of a local web development company and a new designer, replacing the previous one after an amazing three year stint as the designer of the postcards, posters and brochures for the Fair. The new designer continued to work with Sam Motherwell’s images and his characters, all well-known on Mill Road, ran through the pages of the 2010 brochure.
This was a difficult year for the Fair, which was held on 3rd December, as our beloved Suzy Oakes, one of the Founders of the Fair and its constant champion, died in July, after giving up the Chair in the spring of that year following a diagnosis of cancer. A tribute to Suzy can be found on the Suzy Oakes page of this website. The committee regrouped under the Chairmanship of Andrew Phillips and one of the most memorable parts of the Fair was our Shhh for Suzy. Co-ordinated by Kay Blayney of Parkside Federation, people held hands from the centre of the Bridge out towards both ends of the road and stood in silence for a minute before bands in the centre and from both sides broke out into a celebratory rendition of ‘When the Saints Come Marching In’. For the first time the road closure extended to East Road in Petersfield making a much safer environment for everyone.
The highlight of the 2012 Winter Fair on Saturday 1st December was the Grand Parade organised by Parkside Federation to celebrate the centenary of the founding of the school. Under the direction of Nicky Webb and her team a grand parade of schoolchildren of secondary and primary age children together with professional artists made its way from Donkey Common to Coleridge Road, complete with a marching band, a 15 foot high Silicon Queen and other carnival characters. It was followed by the Tai Chi Dragon who only just missed encountering the Chinese Dancing Lion. Mill Road had never seen anything like it!
This year's Fair, which was on 7th December, saw a new design for our brochure, still with a cover from Sam Motherwell, but now designed to be landscape not portrait. Thanks to Steve Linford and the Art Dept, it was given a much more efficient layout and map. MRWF is grateful to the Co-op and City Council for their sponsorship of this. A second Grand Parade, again organised by Nicky Webb and Parkside, attracted huge crowds, and this year had a much larger Community Band with more schools and community groups taking part. We were very proud to be able to have many more venues and are grateful to Bharat Bhavan, the Co-op, the Salisbury Club, Great Eastern Street Car Park and the Deaf Centre for opening their doors to us. This allowed us to find space for many more stalls and events but not to have to cancel any established favourites such as HATS! and the Labyrinth on Petersfield.
A popular feature of the 2014 Fair took place immediately after the opening ceremony as firefighters from the Cambridge station pulled a 14-tonne engine down Mill Road from the bridge to the fire station. They were cheered each step of the way by enthusiastic supporters. Another community parade, organised by Nicky Webb, this year featured all sorts of exotic head gear as well as a band of amateurs and professionals from the local community. We were delighted to welcome a new venue to the Fair: Railway House, a Cambridge Housing Society facility for young people situated in the former Railway Cottages. Their Winter Wonderland and Santa’s Grotto made a welcome contribution by the bridge.
Unusually strong winds did not deter our loyal public in 2015, although a few stalls and performers had to change their plans. However the new Fair flags marking out different venues withstood the wind and looked splendid. Splendid also was the new Dance Gala at Bharat Bhavan where different dance troupes (modern jive, lindy hoppers and belly dancers to name but a few) entertained audiences throughout the day. The Mill Road Art Exhibition, always a popular event, again drew its usual crowds, and we were delighted to be able to offer more stall space in St Barnabas Road and at the entrance to the Depot.