Fancy Fair and Fête

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Fancy Fair and Fête is the name given to a few events from time to time in Cape Town.

Such fêtes were apparently popular in the 1860s, among them those discussed below:

Mr Tilley's annual "Fancy Fair and Fête" at The Roundhouse

Mr Tilley of the Round House Hotel annually organized a "Fancy Fair and Fête" on New Year's day. F.C.L. Bosman (1980: p.274 ) records at least one of these events in 1868, when an unnamed company of Amateur Christy's troupe and similarly unnamed "Dutch Theatrical Company" appeared.

The two Juvenile Fancy Fair and Grand Fêtes of 1869

This was the name given to two charity events organized by the Cape Town Institute and Club in the Cape Gardens in 1869.

The first such Juvenile Fancy Fair and Grand Fête took place on 25 February 1869 and was held in support of the victims of the great fires in Uitenhage, Knysna, etc.

The programme consisted of four hour long plays put on by what was billed as the "Royal Adelphi Theatre", featuring inter alia Mr Brazier, Mr Webster, Mr Paul and colleagues. Among the works presented were a musical melodrama called The Old Sapper, or The Ghost of the Powder Magazine, Ballet Pantomimes by a Corps du Ballet, dancing, singing and acting by "the world-renowned" Y.M.I. Christy's and a performance by the Ethiopian Serenaders. There were also a number of sporting events.

A second such Juvenile Fancy Fair and Grand Fête was organized by the Cape Town Institute and Club on 30 November, 1869, again with various theatrical and Christy companies appearing, along with the Miranda-Harper Opera Company and "velocipede races" held in the afternoon.


F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 273-4

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