The Fair takes place over three days starting on 4 September. It still operates under its royal Charter which is issued by Barnet council. The focus in the present-day Fair is no longer on horses and other livestock; but it is rather a pleasure fair instead.
The fair began in 1588 when Queen Elizabeth I granted a charter to the Lord of the Manor of Barnet to hold a fair twice yearly, in addition to the weekly Barnet Market. Originally held in June and October, Lord John Tomlinson changed the dates to April and September in 1758 for the reason of improving business. From 1881, the April fair ceased.
The focus of the fair was its livestock, with animals being brought from across the United Kingdom. In 1834, The Times reported that Barnet Fair was England's largest cattle market, with up to 40,000 animals on display.
In 1896, a film was made about Barnet Fair, entitled Barnet Horse Fair.
"Barnet Fair" is the name of a song by Steeleye Span.
Media related to Barnet Fair at Wikimedia Commons