Egremont Crab Fair 2023

My wife and I spent this evening at Egremont Crab Fair, a traditional local event founded by royal charter in 1267, making it one of the oldest  community fairs in the country.

It has been held almost continuously since the thirteenth century, but made a welcome return this weekend following a four-year gap, having had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic and last year as a mark of respect because Her late majesty Queen Elizabeth died just before the event was due and the fair fell during the period of national mourning.

But the Crab Fair was back with a bang this year and hundreds of people from all over Britain, and some from the rest of the world, came to enjoy it.

The Crab Fair includes the World Gurning championship. 

What is gurning, you might ask? 

Well, I suppose you could describe it as pulling odd faces - in the same way you could describe the Atlantic Ocean as a large body of water.

Tommy Mattinson became Men's World Gurning Champion for a record 18th consecutive time and was presented with a Certificate from the Guinness World of Records: Claire Lister became the women's champion for the seventh time.

I got a close up view this year, because Egremont Town Council was asked to nominate one of the five judges, and the council asked me to do it. So I suppose from now on if I want to put something pretty unique on a CV, I will be able to say that I have been a judge at the World Gurning Championships. One journalist asked me if I was the "strict judge" like Craig Revel Horwood on "Strictly Come Dancing" and said she thought she was getting a strong Craig Revel Horwood vibe from me - I think what she was actually picking up was astonishment at being asked such a question.

Very warmest congratulations to the winners and all who took part in the competitions and to the Committee of Egremont Crab Fair for all their hard work in putting on the successful return of this historic community event - which also got a special certificate from the Guinness World of Records.

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