Sloe Fair Chichester is held each year on 20 October (unless that falls on a Sunday), in Northgate car park, Chichester. Once part of five ancient fairs held in Chichester, today only the Sloe Fair survives. The earliest record of the Sloe Fair dates back to 1107 in the grant between Henry I and the then Bishop of Chichester. The fair was held in a field near the North gate of the city (now Northgate Car Park) and took its name from a Sloe tree that was growing in the field at the time and the tradition of Sloe Fair continues to be held in Northgate Car Park to this present day.
Sloe Fair was originally held between 6-12 October and attracted various buyers and sellers from across the South to buy and sell livestock. It wasn’t until the 1800s that a recurring date was set for 20 October. You can no longer buy and sell livestock at the fair; instead, it has evolved into the established fun-fair we know today.
There have been several (unsuccessful) attempts over the years to abolish the fair; however, the Sloe Fair has been held every year since 1107 including throughout WW2 where a solo stall was parked on-site to ensure the right to hold the fair remained. Luckily for Chichester, the rights to keep this ancient fair have survived and now allow for another generation to continue this tradition.