With the absence of Bloxwich Carnival this year, Pat Collins Funfair, long associated with both the carnival and Bloxwich itself, stepped in to fill the gap with a new (but actually old) event, the Bloxwich Wakes Festival, on Friday – Sunday 3rd-5th August 2018. And although the event didn’t draw the crowds that the carnival usually does, especially on Sunday, charity stallholders have reported a worthwhile turnout.
Stuart Williams of The Bloxwich Telegraph visited the wakes in brilliant sunshine on the Sunday to meet participants and take pictures for this photo feature.
The tradition of Bloxwich wakes goes back centuries, but from the late 1800s-early 1900s, Pat Collins, ‘King of Showmen’ and proprietor of the original Pat Collins Funfair, used to hold the Bloxwich Wakes, later officially known as Pat Collins Fete & Gala, here in the village every August, and it was a much-anticipated local tradition until the Collins family left in the early 1970s.
The ‘wakes ground’ site is now the ASDA supermarket car park, but in modern times, Pat Collins Funfair has traditionally been held in the King George V Memorial Playing Fields, near to the entrance in Bealey’s Lane, Bloxwich.
The ‘new’ Bloxwich Wakes Festival was organised by the modern proprietors of the current Pat Collins Funfair, Mr Anthony Harris and family, and in the spirit of the old Bloxwich Wakes offered not only their traditional giant funfair, but also arena events on the Saturday and Sunday with live music, plus live wrestling, charity stalls and more. Naturally, though, the real star was all the fun of the fair, as it always was with Bloxwich Wakes!
To view a larger image, just click on any of the pictures shown here.
For info on the Bloxwich Branch of the Royal British Legion, follow this link, or the RBL and the Poppy Appeal in general, via this link.
For more info on the Walsall Branch of the RSPCA, follow this link.
For more info on St Giles Hospice, follow this link.
For more info on Thespian Arts, who are based in Clayhanger, follow this link.
For more info on Alfonso & Son’s Icecream, follow this link.
All pictures copyright Stuart Williams. Persons pictured may post these images on their Facebook pages, but no other publication or commercial use is allowed without permission.
For information on future events, be sure to keep an eye on the Pat Collins Funfair Facebook page and the company website.