Families will flock to Marlborough this weekend to enjoy the first of the two historic ‘Mops’ in the town.

Known as the Little Mop and Big Mop, these were originally hiring fairs in the 1200s where domestic and agricultural workers would have been hired.

It is said that to show their trade, domestic workers would carry a mop, and farm workers would carry a rake or other tool.

But in 2023 the annual Mop has been transformed into a huge funfair which will light up the town’s High Street in a celebration of its history.

Locals and visitors coming to the town can expect big lights and loud music, with thrill rides, children’s rides, game stalls, food stalls running throughout the day.

"As usual there will be a mixture of traditional rides as well as the modern super rides," said a spokesperson for The Showman's Guild of Great Britain.

The Little Mop will take place this Saturday (October 7) from midday until 11pm, with the Big Mop taking place the following Saturday (October 14) at the same time.

Marlborough’s Mops are always held on the closest Saturdays to St Michaelmas Day, on October 11, to be in line with the town’s charter given by King John in 1204.

If St Michaelmas Day falls on a Saturday, the fairs are held two weeks apart.

As per usual, residents have been warned that the High Street will be closed for parking this Friday while the fair is being set up, and on the day of the Little Mop itself.

They will also be closed at the same times for the Big Mop on Friday, October 13, until mid-morning on Sunday, October 15.

Throughout history, successive generations of shopkeepers annoyed by the Mops, have attempted to get them moved out of the High Street and up onto The Common.

But it has always been argued that it would take an act of parliament to remove them as they are statute fairs, and shopkeepers in 2023 have now embraced the fun and chaos that the event brings.

This year’s event is being organised by the Western Section of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain.

After a proclamation from Marlborough’s Town Crier, it is traditional for the Mayor to open the annual Mop and welcome the much-loved event back to town.

Last year, the funfair was priced at £5 per ride, but it has not yet been confirmed how much rides will cost this year.