Monday, 31 December 2012

Fairground swag.

Fairground 'swag' is the name given to the prizes handed out from the round stalls and shooting galleries at a fair. Most are prizes are for a game of skill such as hooking a duck, hoopla, darts and throwing balls. Years ago the prizes were gaudy cups and saucers, small china ornaments
(china-fairings) and plaster figures and animals such as the alsation. From 1910 to 1940 a lot of these figures  in chalkware could be found on the fairs, now rather kitcsh and popular with the vintage look. The victorian prize of a coconut was highly thought of, again because of it was not readily available and was expensive .  Click to link -  I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts !  To own a goldfish in the late victorian era was a sign of status and extremely fashionable so also attracted the punters. The first public aquarium opened in Londons Hyde park in 1853 and along with the ending of the hundred year tax on glass led to the ability for more people to own their own aquariums. 
These days the prizes still follow the fads and fashions of the time, such as favourite cartoon characters, spongebob square pants, Hello Kitty and smurfs. I was suprised this year to also see prizes of packets of cigarettes and small bottles of alcohall, all looking rather incongurous alongside Winnie the pooh and pink fluffy teddies!


Hook a duck


Darts

Hoopla
 It was Billy Butlin in the 1920's that made the goldfish in a bag really popular. There are a lot of people against the giving of goldfish as a prize because of so many not being looked after. This stall had bowls ,food and information to help them stay alive. One fairground goldfish called Tish, won on a roll-a-penny lived for 43 years even though it tried to jump out of its bowl when he was 19 years old after the death of his old companion fish called Tosh. I didn't realise that a goldfish should live at least 15 to 20 years and if it dies before then there must be something wrong with the water !
 
 
 
 

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