Nottingham marks what would have been the start of the 729th Goose Fair

Today (01 October) would have been the start of the 729th Goose Fair in Nottingham.

Due to coronavirus the much loved event- which attracts around 40,000 visitors- was called off.

It's only the 9th time in its history the event hasn't gone ahead, including in 1646 due to the Bubonic Plague and during the First and Second World Wars.

Despite the cancellation the city's Lord Mayor, Councillor Rosemary Healy, read the charter and rand the bell which normally signals that the event is open.

The town Crier, Tom Huggon, also took to the streets to mark what would have been the beginning of the much loved annual tradition.

On Tuesday (29 September) Goosey, The Goose Fair goose, landed in Nottingham's Old Market Square to keep spirits lifted.

The 8 foot figure is normally put into place on 'Goose Fair Roundabout' in Mansfield, close to the site of the event, to mark the start of the fair.

Goosey will be sitting in the square until Sunday (4 October) and will be wearing a specially made face mask to remind people to stay safe.

People are invited to the square to pose for a selfie and upload them to social media using the hashtag "#Honk" and "#IMetGoosey".

The chairman of the Showmen's Guild for Nottingham and Derby says the cancellation is another big blow for the industry.

Councillor Healy said: “It was such a hard decision to cancel Goose Fair this year for only the ninth time in its more than 700-year history."

“We explored every option to go ahead, but with more than 400,000 visitors over five days, it was simply not possible with current Covid restrictions in place. People’s safety is the most important thing and there was no way we could proceed."

Several options were explored for the event to go ahead, including a limited capacity of 25,000 or extending the length of the fair to 10 days.

With reduced numbers, social distancing measures and no loud music the organisers say the atmosphere of the fair would have been lost if it had gone ahead.

Nottingham City Transport normally add 42 extra services to support the event, leading to fears that transport to and from the event would also cause issues.

For now, organisers, locals and visitors hope that the famous Goose Fair will return as normal in 2021.