The North End Road traffic-free market is nearly here! And among the many stalls selling everything your heart – or stomach desires – there will also be some great family-friendly entertainment on hand in thanks to Parnham’s Funfairs.
The legendary Parnham family will be running a handful of their popular rides at the Hammersmith & Fulham Council-organised market on Saturday, 27 June.
Building on the success of the traffic-free Festive Market last December, the Summer Market will see 150 stalls lining both sides of the street up to Lillie Road, selling great gifts, beautiful crafts, jewellery and art, stylish clothes, delicious cakes, hot food, refreshing drinks – and loads more including the funfair as well as live music.
John Parnham, 42, runs the fair aided by his dad – who is also called John – sister Yasmin and a handful of other staff.
He said: “We’re going to be having a couple of rides and a trampoline. We had them at the festive December market and the kids really loved it. I’m glad the council are doing it again. All the traders said how it worked really well last time and increased footfall.”
John Parnham now carries out most of the work involved in the funfair but he learned the trade off his dad. Now 75, John Parnham Senior says he still enjoys the job he has been doing since he was a boy – as his dad did before him.
He said: “I still come out even though my son says I don’t have to. I enjoy getting out into the fresh air and seeing the children enjoying themselves.
“My parents took it over from their parents, it’s been going on for heaven knows how long. This isn’t a job, it’s a way of life. You don’t get rich out of it and you don’t choose it, but it’s a lovely life. It’s lovely to see the people’s faces, to see the mums and dads as they’re watching their children overwhelmed with joy.”
Parnham’s Children’s Funfair runs across London and operates about eight rides at a time, updating them every few years.
In Hammersmith & Fulham, the family sets up in Parsons Green, Ravenscourt Park, Eel Brook Common, Normand Park and, as of last year, North End Road. They also take their bouncy castle, tea cup ride or other attractions to schools on request.
John Parnham Senior, of Hounslow, said another joy of the job was being able to support good causes. Among their good work, the family provided funds for a Christmas meal for 250 pensioners hosted by Hammersmith & Fulham Council at the town hall and has opened the fair for free for underprivileged children.
John Parnham Senior said: “Charity is something in life that does not always get done. Everyone is always so busy they haven’t got time for other people.”
He said the fair’s longevity is partly down to its size. He said: “The bigger fairs can attract yobbos but that doesn’t happen with a children’s fair. It’s an afternoon thing and when people look around they realise it’s not the same thing. They can bring granddad, I enjoy talking to the grandparents.”
The fair shuts down between two and three months a year because of the winter but he said he would never cancel a booking because of bad weather.
He added: “We never let people down, even if we don’t think we’re going to make much money. People respect us for that. Our reputation is more important than our rides.”