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Monday, 22 February 2016

All the Fun of the Fair and More

In the world of visual art it's often Folk Art that moves me more than other genres. I was so thrilled to discover Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre in Devon. Since I'm split between Devon and London I've so missed the buzz and culture of London when in the west country, (I made a studio here to be near my old mum since her stroke) then happily via the blogosphere I found Dingles on The British Bible of Taste - Thank you! which in turn I had found following a link from Jo Waterhouse's fantastic, witty blog Toot as in Foot
Devon is huge and luckily Dingles is only a 40 minute drive from here - I only recently learned to drive, not so easy in middle age but very necessary in the countryside - so, great to let rip on the dodgems on arrival!

This is a collection of vintage, working rides; carousel, ghost train, waltzers etc housed in one of two large farm sheds. Also there are a collection of working one armed bandits, a hall of mirrors and penny arcade games - take 1p, 2p and 10p pieces.

We had fun on all the rides and the dodgems twice but really the second barn was my favourite, housing a huge collection of absolutely stunning fairground art - I thought I'd died and gone to heaven here, it really is like somewhere that only exists in your dreams.

Behind the Chariot Racer I spotted this workbench, I love to see work areas, here there is clearly a dedicated team restoring and maintaining the rides and artwork.

There is so much to feast your eyes on here, these photos are a tiny percentage, there is tons to see including penny arcade machines from different eras. There is also alot to hear with the old fairground organs playing traditional music, I shall definitely be going back to Dingles many times!

Amongst my favourite artwork were some large screens of boxers painted in the 1920's; apparently you could challenge the boxer and get in the ring with him, can't imagine that happening today.
Dingles is a good day out with a nice cafe and shop, good selection of postcards (not always the case is it!?) and an illustrated guide for £4, also disabled access so I will be taking my mum in her wheelchair to see the artwork, don't think I'll get her on a ride but you never know!

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