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Section: Pukekohe News
The Gypsy Fair rolled into town last Friday and set up at the Pukekohe Intermediate School, attracting many locals throughout Saturday and Sunday.
It was a special occasion because the Gypsy Fair is celebrating 25 years since it was established.
On sale were a variety of products from face painting, clothing, jewellery, food , coffee, icecreams, waffles, body piercing, leather goods, tarot readings, palmestry, bone carving, gemstones, and merry-go-rounds for the kids.
Touring New Zealand
The Gypsy Fair tours New Zealand for eight months of the year, starting from Rotorua in September and finishing in Christchurch in May.
The troupe sells individually, and exclusively, as there are only one of each type of business allowed in the group at any one time.
Sandra Rose is in her first year with the Gypsy Fair and she us on Saturday that she just loves the way of life.
“We only work on weekends. During the week we are on the road to a new location and setting up for the following weekend, so we are kept quite busy for most of the time.”
Sandra enjoys being part of the troupe as everyone looks out for each other and,very importantly, she is her own boss, working for herself, selling jewellery made of sterling silver, pewter and stainless steel.
Earlier in the year Sandra purchased a bus and decked it out with living quarters and stocked it with product, which she sources from the USA ,Thailand and India.
“We also have craftsmen among us who produce some of our products and this is quite handy if customers want a specific article of which we haven’t got at the time.”
When asked how well the public responds to the Gypsy Fair, Sandra said there are many people in each town who expect them to come back each year and are waiting for them. “It has been going for 25 years so the Gypsy Fair has developed a very good clientele in that time.”
For 20 of those 25 years, gypsy Jude, the travelling painter, has been part of the troupe, creating images of visitors who sit for 10 minutes while she sketches their faces.
Her bus is set up like a true gypsy home and at the back she has a studio where she paints in her leisure time, preparing work for sale at her next destination.
“This has been my life since I came to New Zealand from England,” she said. “I love it and would not change it, not at all.”
“A place of enchantment”
When asked to describe the Gypsy Fair, Jude said it would be appropriate to quote the well -known radio commentator, Marcus Lush, who once said: “The stalls, the sounds of the music and the smells waffling through the air make it a place of enchantment.”
From a local point of view, the fair’s popularity was summed up by visitors, Sandra Hodgson and Anna Elders : “It is really fantastic,” said Sandra.
“Yes, it is a refreshing change from the usual Pukekohe scene,” said Anna.
From Pukekohe, the Gypsy Fair headed to Bowentown outside of Waihi. From there they will go to Whangamata and New Plymouth. From there they will head to the South Island.