Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

fairs are known today by many different names: show, fête, festival, market, and exhibition. An ancient tradition, a fair is a temporary gathering to display and trade products, goods, and animals. From a very early date, in order to attract crowds, fairs offered entertainment in the form of musicians, acrobats, jesters, and various contests. Delicacies and dainties, such as waffles and gingerbread, were for sale in great quantities at medieval fairs; professional vendors trolled the fairgrounds with portable ovens to sell their freshly baked goods to visitors.