Morris dancers chatting in a group in between dances

You are here

Witness a Living Tradition

With more living traditions than you can shake a handkerchief at, Abingdon-on-Thames is the stage for a number of events that no-one fully understands, but everyone loves. From the community craziness of our unique Bun-Throwing tradition to the day-long Morris marathon of the Election of the Mayor Ock Street, there are hidden meanings from the past in so many of the events that form part of our town calendar.

crowds of people looking upwards and reaching to the sky to catch the falling buns
Bun Throwing is the iconic, 400 year-old tradition which is unique to Abingdon-on-Thames. The event is a cross between a ceremony and, well... a bun-fight. Bun-Throwings only take place when the Town Council votes to hold one to mark a royal occasion so in recent years there have been two on the occasions of the 2011 Royal Wedding and the 2012 Jubilee.  Councillors in full ceremonial robes climb...
Weight: -44
Morris dancers showing visiting students how to dance whilst a dog looks on
The Election of the Mayor of Ock Street, an annual tradition in Abingdon-on-Thames, is held on the closest Saturday to the midsummer solstice which suggests ancient roots. As well as being a Morris Dancing marathon lasting from midday into the evening, taking in pubs up and down the street, the day includes a real election, conducted according to strict rules, for the town’s “mock” mayor....
Weight: -40
Bright lights and fairground rides in front of the baroque County Hall building
The Michaelmas Fair was originally a medieval hiring fair for rural farmworkers to find work in the local area around Abingdon-on-Thames. Over the years, more and more stalls and fairground rides were added to make it now the longest street fair in Europe, running a mile down the length of the High Street from the market place and down Ock Street. The three days in October of the Michaelmas Fair...
Weight: -35
Bright lights and fairground rides in front of the baroque County Hall building
The Runaway Fair is the smaller fair that follows a few days after the Michaelmas Fair in October. Abingdon-on-Thames has a tradition of championing the rights of the common man and this hiring fair was held specifically so that farmworkers who had been hired at the earlier Michaelmas Fair, and had found their new master cruel or the conditions intolerable, could quite literally “run away”,...
Weight: -30
swans paddling along on the river in a group
Swan Upping is no tourist gimmick but a genuine tradition in which the swans on the Upper Thames, which are the property of the crown, are counted and health-checked. Abingdon-on-Thames is the end point of the annual survey. Watch the video about Swan Upping  
Weight: -25
Printer Friendly and PDF
Back to Top