Hundreds of thousands of visitors spent estimated £7.1m during Goose Fair

Goose Fair from the air
By Joe Locker, Local Democracy Reporter

More than 500,000 visitors spent an estimated £7.1 million during Nottingham Goose Fair this year.

The historic annual event took place over ten days from September 29 to October 8.

A report from Nottingham City Council shows roughly 512,676 people visited the fair in 2023, with visitor numbers peaking on Saturday, October 7 when 98,226 people attended the event.

Based on the Royal Charter it was the 727th event to take place in the city, taking into account the cancelled fairs in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid pandemic.

A visitor survey took place for the first time, and 652 people took part.

The average visiting party size was between three and four people and, based on the median spend and the percentage of total visitors, the estimated consumer spend was £7.1m.

“Based on the median spend and the percentage of total visitors, it’s estimated that £1.1 million was spent on transport to the fair,” council documents say, with most money having gone to NET, NCT and taxi operators.

“Based on the median spend and the percentage of total visitors, it’s estimated that £3.8 million was spent on rides and attractions and £2.2 million was spent on food and drink.”

In 2022 the visitor count was an assumed 550,380 people.

This year’s visitor count was 6.9 per cent lower “due to six days of wet weather”, the council says.

In 2019, the last fair before the Covid pandemic, 421,608 visitors attended the fair, but over a five-day period.

The figures will be discussed at a Communities and Environment Scrutiny Committee meeting on December 6.

Finances will also be considered, including the budget for Nottingham events.

Documents show the net budget for events has reduced from around £500,000 in 2011/12 to a budget of £56,000 in 2023/24.

A further Medium Term Financial Plan (the council’s budget over the next four years) saving of £33,000 is to be applied in 2024/25.

It comes after the council’s chief finance officer issued a Section 114 notice on Wednesday, November 29, meaning the authority has effectively declared bankruptcy.

It had been trying to close an in-year budget gap of £23m.

Documents say: “Savings have been achieved against a backdrop of increased costs but without significant loss of event content, and where possible with improved production values and event presentation for council-commissioned events.”

Increased costs led to the cancellation of the fireworks and bonfire night event in Nottingham for another year.

The council said the cost of the event in 2022 was £30,000, and about £10,000 of income is made from the fairground and food and drinks.

However, costs for the event which was due to be held on Sunday, November 5, doubled to £60,000 this year.

“Year-on-year budget reductions have been delivered by increasing commercial income from venue bookings, other commercial and trading activities, use of VIK (value in kind) to replace cash grants and general efficiencies,” documents add.

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