PREPARATIONS are underway for a year of family fun for all the family in St Ives to celebrate the granting of the town s first charter. In 2010 St Ives will be celebrating the 900th anniversary of its first fair charter which was granted to the Abbot of R

PREPARATIONS are underway for a year of family fun for all the family in St Ives to celebrate the granting of the town's first charter.

In 2010 St Ives will be celebrating the 900th anniversary of its first fair charter which was granted to the Abbot of Ramsey by King Henry I in 1110.

It allowed the Abbot to hold a fair at Slepe (as St Ives was then called) for eight days each Easter.

The St Ives Easter fair went on to become one of the four biggest fairs in England during the 13th century.

The charter is a century older than those granted to Huntingdon and Godmanchester and marks the moment St Ives became a town.

To celebrate this significant milestone in St Ives history, the town council with support from community groups, is organising a year packed full of festivities.

Plans are still at an early stage but events already confirmed include concerts, war re-enactments and visitors from the twin town of Stadtallendorf in Germany.

The St Ives 900 celebrations will be kick-started on April 4 with a street market which will include livestock as well as stallholders dressed in Anglo-Norman costumes.

Alison Melnyczuk, clerk to St Ives Town Council, said: "There will be something different taking place in the town at least once a month through to December next year.

"It is going to be a really, really exciting time for St Ives."

A website will be launched in the coming weeks (www.stives900.co.uk) where people can find out more and view a timetable of planned events.

To help fundraise for the celebrations a balloon race will take place at the town's Christmas lights switch-on this Saturday (November 28).

Balloons will be on sale for £1 with the owner of the balloon that travels the furthest becoming a VIP at the 900 opening celebrations in April.

The event starts at 1pm and will culminate with the switch-on at 5pm.

INFORMATION: Anyone wanting to find out more about the St Ives 900 celebrations, or get involved should contact Annette Ablewhite at St Ives Town Council on 01480 388929.