May Day! Fun-Fair Takes Over the Ville to Start the Month

Photo by Marv Gelb

Photo by Marv Gelb

The Swarthmore Charity Fun-Fair returns on Sunday, May 1, from 1 to 5 p.m., with games, rides, activities, food, and, well, fun in the town center of Swarthmore. Swarthmore Rotary Club organizes and manages the fair, which attracted more than 6,000 visitors last year. More than 70 nonprofit organizations are taking part in this year’s event, a record high number. Proceeds raised at the Fun-Fair by the Swarthmore Rotary Charitable Trust and participating charitable organizations go to numerous worthy causes.

Gear up for a workout: Before the fair kicks off, runners take off at noon in the Lions Club 5-K Fun Walk and Run. The entry fee for both the race and the walk is $25, and $30 on race day. Online registration is available at www.runtheday.com. Registration forms are available in Swarthmore at the Swarthmore Co-op and Borough Hall; in Newtown Square at The Running Place; and at other area running stores.

The Delaware Valley Bicycle Club leads a bike tour of Swarthmore and environs, starting at 12:05 p.m. Novices take one 5-mile route, and experienced riders range further afield on a 15-mile course. Sign up for all events ($5 for kids and $10 for adults) on Fair day beginning at 11 a.m. at the Swarthmore SEPTA station.

Fifteenth Fun-Fair: It seems as though the Fun-Fair has been a Swarthmore fixture forever, but in fact it was established in 2002. Back then, Rotarians Ken Wright and Gordy Nichols promised club president Marty Spiegel that the event wouldn’t lose more than $3,000. In fact, the Fair made more than $8,000 for charities that first year.

New and different this year: The Teenager Activity Center adds more games and amusements and moves to the front of the Inn at Swarthmore. Also at the Inn are tours, a ribbon-cutting at 2 p.m., and a raffle. Proceeds will be donated to the Swarthmore Rotary Charitable Trust, which makes grants throughout the year toward polio eradication, clean water, literacy, and many other causes. The Food Court breaks in the new borough parking lot, and the CADES bungee jump moves to a location in front of PNC Bank.

Fun-Fair Fun Facts: The “Fun-Fair” comes from England, where it incorporates elements of an amusement park and a carnival. The Swarthmore Fun-Fair also owes its genesis to England, where Dr. Robert Edwards advised Ken Wright to stage an event that is short (4 hours maximum), loud (with music and a parade) and crowded (confined rather than in an open area).

Check out the whole Fun-Fair panorama at Swarthmorefair.com. The show goes on, rain or shine, on May Day.

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