Carters Steam Fair
An Amazing Vintage Funfair & Vehicles Collection
What is it?
My (not so) quick recce of Carters Steam Fair
From within moments of arriving at the fair it was clear to see just how much dedication and passion goes into the faithful restoration of these rides – the park truly looked beautiful and it was like stepping back in time. From what I’ve read the Carters family have a real passion and expertise for restoring vintage vehicles and fairground rides, so much so that if you have a vintage vehicle yourself that you are working on, you can arrange for their advice and assistance with paintwork and restoration if needed.
I intended to just have a quick look around the fair to see if it would be a good day out for myself and my son and so my focus of attention was initially on the children’s rides. I wasn’t really expecting much given that the few travelling fairs that I have attended only seem to have one or two children’s rides (that’s just in my limited experience). However the Carters steam fair had a large selection of children’s rides and also rides for the whole family, in addition to a few thrill rides that the modern day attractions a good run for their money.
So after having a quick walk around, I spotted a couple of larger attractions* that I just had to try out for myself whilst I was there, and my quick trip ended up being over 2 hours long given there was so much to look at.
(*the Ghost Train and the Carters Steamships – the latter being one of the most frightening rides that I have ever been on! see details below and a link to the ride and my reaction).
What are the attractions?
A full list of rides and attractions can be found on the official site HERE.
Note – not all of the attractions were at Lichfield as they undertake a rolling maintenance program and some items may have been on loan or exhibiting elsewhere.
The children’s and family rides that I saw on Sunday included (not exhaustive):
- Steam Gallopers
- Jungle Thriller Ark
- Mini Octopus
- The Autodrome
- Austin Cars
- The Train Ride
- The Boat Ride
- Toy Town
- Old Penny Arcade
plus many more (see images below).
Is it suitable for children?
As you can see from the list above there are many attractions that are suitable for toddlers and families, and I think that a big part of the day is the vintage heritage and atmosphere that is unique to Carters Stream Fair. Even if you and your family aren’t into thrill rides it’s well worth a visit given that it has free entry and you can just walk around, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy looking at the vintage rides, vehicles and artwork. Just keep in mind that this is a vintage fairground with loud equipment, music and generators.
Carters Steam Ships
Imaging sitting on a park bench with no restraints. Imagine being tilted vertically and then swung vertically the other way – that’s the world famous Carters Steamships ride. Take a look at the pictures above and you’ll have an idea what this is about. Just to make it clear, let me repeat myself – there are no restraints – you either hold on as shown on the sign, or you’ll basically have the same experience as that washing liquid ball when in your washing machine, but instead of fluffy towels, you’ll be banging against wooden benches and fellow riders. Check out the video below to see just how terrifying this is (I’m writing this three days after riding and my arms are still sore – but I feel like I’ve earned those bruises!).
The Ghost Train
I also went on the Ghost Train which was an absolute classic and contained a number of good jump scares and you even get soaked with a blast of water. Note that the ghost train is very dark and contains some very loud noises and I really do mean loud, so I would be wary about taking very little children on.
How Does It Work
Having now read up a little on the history of the fair since visiting it is clear that it is well loved by a huge fan base. The official website even has a merchandise section which includes books on the history of the fair, T-shirts, mugs posters and other memorabilia.
From browsing various sites it’s clear to me that a one of the key things that attracts people is the incredible vintage artwork and during the closed season you can even attend a five day residential course with the Carters family to learn the art of vintage signwriting – more details can be found on their website.