When The Hoppings come to our beloved city, Newcastle, we know to dress in wellies and a storm-proof coat. The sun shone over the city last year as the town moor was having a well-deserved year off. Back in 2012, the Town Moor looked worse than ever and not one patch of grass was in sight. With mud looking as though 1000 pigs had rolled around in it and the smell of manure knocking you clean out, it was time to call it quits. Now The Hoppings are back but is it better than ever?
The Hoppings have been a summer staple in the North East city since 1882. The fair took place at Jesmond Dene from 1914 to 1918 and then moved to the more spacious Town Moor in 1919. Times have now moved on and since the good old days, portions have gotten smaller, prices have gotten higher and queues have gotten longer, so here is a little help to survive The Hoppings:
1. Ah, ‘Dare Devil Night’, although the night has passed for this year, ‘Dare Devil Night’ is basically opening night and happy hour is every hour. Deluded people call it ‘Dare Devil Night’ because they believe rides are unsafe, even though all rides are carefully inspected by Newcastle council. #NationalAccidentHelpline.
2. Any rides with the word ‘Extreme’ in front of them, you should avoid like the plague, this is because they are what some would call chav-infested. Never has one seen so many see through leggings and Nike Air-Max’s before.
3. Avoid and chip shop vans which serves you a small polystyrene cup of chips. Paying £3.50 for a cup of chips and 10p for sauce will not be the highlight of your day.
4. Stay clear of the dodgems. Roma is in the box office counting all her money and pressing random buttons to make the ride sound more like a radio convention. Dave, the handyman on the other hand, is smoking his head off and chatting to the ladies, the poor lost souls who have paid £5 for the ride, are smacking into each other head on and whacking their elbows off each corner of the bumper car. Usually there would be signs to point which way you should be going but frankly it’s Newcastle and we don’t give a flying Mackem.
5. Enter the ghost train if you dare! £3 per person is quite reasonable because you think you’re in for a thrill of a ride. Think again. The ride is dark and spooky and yes, you may have a few goose bumps but when you get to the top of the ride you are definitely brought back down to earth. Your heart is racing as you see the light at the end of the tunnel on the top floor of the ride, you squeeze your eyes shut because you don’t know what lies ahead. Well, the harsh reality hits you when Scream, Freddy Krueger and Pennywise are huddled up together laughing, carrying on and filling their lungs with smoke and one of them turns around and says “roar”… OMG call me an ambulance and throw me in a coffin, I’m dead!