Hull Fair entrances widened after police break-up sudden surge
HULL Fair organisers will widen entrances and put up diversion signs to prevent a repeat "surge" of people on busy nights.
A combination of fine weather and the popularity of the star attraction, Skyrider, is thought to have made last weekend "exceptionally busy".
Police were forced to step in and break-up the sudden surge in Walton Street on Saturday night as thousands of families chose the same time to visit the fair.
Now, organisers say they plan to widen paths and entrances to the fairground site in time for this weekend.
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Stall-holder Garry Leach, who is also a steward for The Showman's Guild, which helps organise the fair, said: "This year is the busiest in years.
"Hull Fair has really caught people's imagination, which is a good thing.
"Unfortunately, we had a slight problem on Saturday evening.
"Usually, the fair is very free-flowing. But, at about 7.30pm, a lot of people decided to all come to the fair at once.
"However, the police did a fantastic job, as they do every year."
Mr Leach said at the height of the surge, officers briefly prevented more people walking down Walton Street, allowing the crowds to dissipate.
He said: "In anticipation of next weekend, we are now widening entrances.
"Signs are also being put up to direct people along alternative routes to the sites."
Mr Leach urged fair-goers to consider visiting the attraction at less busy times.
He said: "The fair is open from 4pm to 11pm every day. We would ask people to visit the fair at other times of the day, if possible.
"This will increase their enjoyment of the rides, because they will not have to queue for as long."
Jim Mitchell, the Mail's picture editor, was with his young family when they became caught-up in the bottle-neck.
He said: "We had parked in the KC Stadium car park and walked through to Walton Street.
"In comparison to previous years, it was very busy with pedestrian traffic.
"As we walked up Walton Street, close to the Brickmakers' Arms, we were suddenly caught in a log jam of people. You struggled to move.
"If a child had tripped and fallen, they could have been in trouble. I ended up putting my son on my shoulders and carrying him.
"Eventually, we managed to get over to the pub and stayed in the car park until the crowd had passed.
"The police seemed to get it under control fairly quickly. A lot of people were talking about it."
Therese Rigg, Hull City Council's events manager, said: "Due to exceptionally high numbers of people attending Hull Fair on Saturday, Walton Street became very busy, resulting in the police and stewards having to redirect people into the fairground via other entrances to reduce congestion in this area.
"To avoid this situation happening again, we have spoken to the owner of a catering unit, which was on private land along Walton Street and they have moved the unit back so people queuing do not obstruct the walkway down Walton Street.
"The council, police and stewards work together to ensure the safety of visitors to the fair and staff at the fairground respond to any issues immediately.
"In doing so, there were no injuries and the flow of people in Walton Street was brought back to normal within 20 minutes."