Gold Hill Fair/Festival

Gold Hill Festival 2022

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Gold Hill Festival 2021

After 16 months of lockdown Shaftesbury Rotary Club wanted to give something back to the community. Gold Hill Fair was relaunched as Gold Hill Festival. Under Covid guidelines, the community had the opportunity to experience near normality again.
The weather was a big concern with an unsettled day forecast, but the public were not deterred. They still turned up and were entertained by live bands on stage, Morris Dancers with their traditional dance routines, two steam engines and a life-sized caravan made of Lego.

The site had the look of a festival site with stall holders and caterers spread around the perimeter of the site, giving them a view of the stage, where local bands were given the rare chance of playing together. There were several Morris Dance groups creating the atmosphere of an English Country Fair.
By all accounts the traders and caterers had a very successful day and again enjoyed the opportunity of an outside event. Despite the odd shower the sun did come out on occasion and overall, it was a very successful day.

Shaftesbury Rotary Club would like to thank the main sponsors Western Marquees, together with Rutters Solicitor who paid for the banners and Signrite for providing some free signage. They would also like to thank the Berwick St. John Steam Fair for supplying the steam engines to the event and Blackmore Vale Leisure for bringing the Lego Caravan.

The Club would also like to thank all the volunteers who gave up their time helping, including Shaftesbury Lions Club who manned one of the gates.
This event would not have been able to have taken place, in this format without the support of Shaftesbury Town Council, who have been behind Shaftesbury Rotary Club and provided a grant towards the event.

Gold Hill Fair 2020 Cancelled

This event was to have been on Sunday July 5th but we very much regret that due to the present Corona virus pandemic we have been forced to cancel. We thank all of the musicians and performers as well as stall holders and others who were willing to support us. We hope to see you in 2021.

Gold Hill Fair 2019

After a damp start on Sunday 7th July Shaftesbury Rotary’s Gold Hill Fair were blessed with a glorious sunny day, bringing out record crowds to a wonderful day’s entertainment of stalls, music, dancing and refreshment.

The event started with the traditional parade through the town, led by the Mayor Tim Cook, together with the new President of Shaftesbury Rotary Club Win Harvey (pictured below).

The Shaftesbury Town Silver Band followed on with several local community groups carrying coloured banners.

The parade finished off the annual community organization draw of £100 donation this year was won by Shaftesbury Primary School PTFA, Shaftesbury Scouts and Shaftesbury Rainbows. The public enjoyed Morris Dancing outside the Town Hall performed by several different dance bands, throughout the morning.

Pictured: Morris Dancing outside the town hall

At midday many people took advantage of the beautiful weather, taking their picnics to the Abbey Gardens sitting down on the grass taking in the music of 5 different performers.
There were many regular stallholders, as well as new, both in Park Wall and the High Street. Shaftesbury Rotarians dressed in Hawaiian shirts and trialed out The Human Fruit Machine and we’re not sure who had more fun the Rotarians or the Public!

Pictured: Queueing for the stalls

The fringe now in its 4th year continues to expand its repertoire of acts and venues and we are pleased to continue to work with them.
Shaftesbury Rotary Club would like to thank the Public for coming and supporting the day and all those who took part in what was both, a successful and fun day.
If you would like to know more about Rotary, or interested in joining then please look at our website and get in contact.

All photos in this report courtesy of James Thrift.



Gold Hill Fair 2018

Gold Hill Fair has once again come and gone adding to the successes of Shaftesbury Rotary Club.

We were very lucky with the weather with only a slight shower to cool everybody off in the middle of the day.  Many stalls attended and the High Street and Park Walk was a bustling place with crafts, music games and of course Donkey Rides.  The Van Pull was held in the High Street but unfortunately only three teams took part this year.  We hope to publicise this better next year and get a good turnout.

The Fair again brought in a good profit, this year in the region of £4500, this will be donated to many good causes within the local community and some going further afield. Some of the recipients are listed below.

Record crowds enjoyed a full music programme in the idyllic surroundings of the Abbey grounds and country dance as usual took place in front of the Town Hall along with The Tibetan Monks who joined us again this year. The Celtic Knot this year performed in the Rose Garden and proved a great success with more people sitting and listening for longer periods and also buying refreshment from the Rotary tea-tent.  Also joining in the fun of the fair were the Community Choir and the Arts Centre who were publicising their forth-coming show.Trinity church tower was once again open for visitors prepared to climb the many steps to get one of the best views of the town and surrounding countryside.

The many attractions made the Fair well worth a visit. It was a great day for bringing together the community spirit of Shaftesbury and for the many visitors who attended.

We were very happy to work together with the “Fringe”. We believe the two events complement each other well. Between them they made Shaftesbury a great place to come to for the weekend.

Many thanks go to all who made this a very successful fundraiser.

A note for your diary, Gold Hill Fair 2019 will take place on Sunday 7th July – Booking forms will be available from early March or contact us via our Website for information.

Main Charity (Pending) Jazzercise
Abbey Museum Louise Plumridge
Brownies Police Benevolent
Carnival Committee Rotary Club of Sturminster Newton
Dorset Marshalls Shaftesbury School
Electricity Supplier Shaftesbury Silver Band
Fireman’s’ Charity Trekkers Disabled Camp
Gillingham and Shaftesbury Lions Trinity Trust
Girl Guides  



Gold Hill Fair 2017


Another great success. We were very lucky with the weather which was warm but not so warm as to tempt people to go to the beach! We had a full music programme in the idyllic surroundings of the Abbey grounds and country dance as usual in front of the Town Hall. The Celtic knot performed in front of the Rotary tea-tent, which did heavy business and the Community choir sang close to the War Memorial.
A record number of visitors climbed the Trinity church tower for the best view in town. The Stalbridge Linen van pull again proved a great success with the fire brigade proving worthy winners. The Rotary bottle stall proved, as always, a very popular hit. Face painting and the children’s fairground rides did good business and the Climbing wall and Mad Science attracted both the young and the young at heart.
As usual the parade was led by the town band and large crowds – probably swelled by visitors to the Fringe – enjoyed the wide range of stalls and crafts. The Hog roast and ice-cream van did a roaring trade.
Many thanks to all who made this not just a very successful fundraiser but also a wonderful community day.
Gold Hill Fair 2018 will take place on Sunday 1st July – Booking forms will be available from early March.
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Gold Hill Fair 2016


Shaftesbury Rotary’s new President Bernard Skam was delighted with the success of Gold Hill Fair on Sunday 3rd July. After cool wet days the sun shone on a glorious summer’s day. The large crowd enjoyed day-long activities, starting with the parade of children and voluntary groups up the High Street, led by the Mayor and Shaftesbury Silver Band.  Five groups each received £100 awards, donated by Rotary and Shaftesbury Task Force.  They were the Silver Band, the Twinning Organisation, Shaftesbury Snowdrops, The Girl Guides, and the Tibetan Monks, whose unusual musical instruments and dancing intrigued onlookers.


A French Market, Camelot Craft Market, and countless stalls on the High Street and Park Walk including Rotary’s Tea Tent, and Bottle Stall, offered a wide variety of goods and foods. Younger children could enjoy the donkeys from Weymouth, face painting and fairground attractions.  Stalbridge Linen organised a Van Pull in the High Street. Morris Dancers and musical performers entertained throughout the afternoon.


President Bernard said ”This is our major fund raising event, and all of the profit is donated to charities, many in and around Shaftesbury. Our lead charity this year is the Dorset Deaf Children’s Society. We encourage local charities to have a stall to promote themselves. This year the Scouts had a novel Golden Cobble event on Gold Hill. The new Shaftesbury Fringe took place the same weekend, and we shared a free joint programme.  As always, Rotary thanks our advertisers, stallholders and all who contributed to a successful event. Please check out our gallery page for more photos!


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History of Gold Hill Fair

Gold Hill Fair has been a prominent part of Shaftesbury’s community life for almost 30 years. Initially started by Rotaract it has been run by Shaftesbury Rotary for over 20 years. It takes place on the first full weekend of July in the town centre over one or two days