Canterbury Faire

Canterbury Faire (colloquially referred to as ‘CF’ by locals and ‘Canty Faire’ by Australians) is the largest event in the Crescent Isles (i.e. New Zealand), and is hosted by the Barony of Southron Gaard every year in January. The event officially runs for 6 days with Opening Court occurs on the Monday and Closing Court occurs on the Saturday, with 2 days before and 1 day after for setup and packdown respectively.

The event tends to attract approximately 250 attendees, including regular visitors from all across Lochac. The official Canterbury Faire website is updated each year and is hosted by the Barony of Southron Gaard’s website.

Canterbury Faire attendance statistics, gathered from editions of From the Tower (Southron Gaards newsletter) by THL Ceara Shionnach.
Canterbury Faire attendance statistics, gathered from editions of From the Tower (Southron Gaards newsletter) by THL Ceara Shionnach.

The event is located at a scout camp type site (the Waipara Boys Brigade) in Waipara, which is approximately an hours drive from Christchurch on the South Island.

The event token varies in form each year, with anything from pewter pilgrims badges to wax tablets to small leather books. There is also a t-shirt and bag available for purchase each year.

The notable mini-events that occur each year at Canterbury Faire include:

  • The Gypsy Market and two other full Markets throughout the event.
  • Half Circle Theatre, a night of performance pieces (e.g. singing, poetry, puppet plays, etc), and which also inspired the creation of the Boars Head Theatre at Rowany Festival.
  • The Friday Night Ball, where people put on their finest garb and dance to live music. There is a finger-food supper provided at this ball on top of dinner for the meal plan people.
  • Saturday Night Wrestling, where there is a childrens division and an adults division. Anyone can enter.

Some interesting points for visitors thinking of traveling to Canterbury Faire:

  • There is a meal plan option that you can sign up to where all meals are catered from the soup kitchen on Sunday night before Opening Court to breakfast on Sunday after Closing Court.
  • Visitors may opt to stay in the bunk rooms, which have 4-12 bunks each depending on the room. These do not include bedding or towels, however, if you ask the locals, many of them are willing and able to lend a hand with that.
  • There are two washing machines on site, located in the Tui buildings (where the Arts and Sciences classes are taught at the back of site). There are also washing lines available next to these machines.
  • There is a freshwater swimming hole beside the site that you can swim in (excellent for those hot, dry days).
  • There are various ‘play equipment’ activities around the site that can be used, including trampolines, a flying fox, a water slide down a hill, obstical courses, etc.
  • There are nocturnal, wild, chilled-out hedgehogs on site that rumage around the campsites and surrounding bushes late at night.

A summary of various Canterbury Faires and related events can be found below: