Wednesday, 18 April 2012

All the fun of the fair

Below is my “Big Day Out” column from the Saturday, April 14, 2012, Swansea edition of the South Wales Evening Post.

All the fun of the fair 
A big day out! 
This week RICHARD THOMAS heads to the Swansea Spring Funfair to enjoy the rides and win some prizes.

WHY? Today is the last day to catch the Spring Funfair at St Helens car park in Swansea. Whether you enjoy fast and furious rides or just want to test your skills on the stalls, there's lots to keep the whole family entertained for an afternoon. So don’t miss out on winning some giant bears and other special prizes!
WHAT’S THE BUZZ? There's a wide variety of rides and games to choose from at the fair, with something to suit all ages. Younger children will enjoy the Jump And Smile Dome indoor bouncy castle, and for slightly older children there’s a Mini Coaster and Fun House. Parents and grand parents might prefer to try their luck on the stalls where you can win everything from toys of your favourite Walt Disney character to your own pet goldfish. For £2 you get a chance to win £10, all you have to do is knock all the tins off a shelf when you throw a ball. You get three tries but this is harder than it looks, a much more fun option is the air rifle stall game, where you shoot at different playing card targets to win a prize. There are also dodgems or bumper cars depending on whose doing the driving.
LOOK OUT FOR? Thrill seekers won’t want to miss out on the Insomnia ride, where you get to find out what it’s like to get whirled around like you’re in a giant washing machine.
ANY HISTORY? The first fairground rides began to appear in the 18th century. These early rides were small and made of wood and propelled by gangs of boys. In 1868, Frederick Savage, an agricultural engineer from Kings Lynn, devised a method of driving rides by steam. His invention, a steam engine mounted in the centre of the ride, transformed the fairground industry.
WHAT TO TAKE? Chips, hotdogs, popcorn, candy floss and other treats are all for sale in the funfair’s food booths. Most rides cost £2 per person, with the exception of the dodgems which cost £3 per car. Stall game prices vary between £2 and £3. Hook A Duck costs £2.50 for each attempt but you're guaranteed to win a prize every time you play, making it the best option for younger players. Don't forget to bring some bags with you to take home all your prizes at the end of the day.
WHEN TO GO? Today is the last day to enjoy the attractions at the funfair before it closes. The fair will be open today between 2pm and 10pm.
TELL ME MORE: You can find the funfair in the car park adjacent to the St Helen's Rugby Ground. For sat nav users the address and postcode is: 1 Bryn Road, Brynmill, Swansea, SA2 0AR. Find out more at
Visit Richard Thomas's website at