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Which one's correct? I've seen both claiming to be correct...

3 Answers 3

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Fair.

'Faire' would is an old-fashioned spelling and would be somewhat pretentious nowadays. You also sometimes see 'fayre' in the context of food, normally something like 'We serve traditional home-cooked fayre'.

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  • Huh... "Faire" makes me think of French ("to do" or "to make"), so I always went with Fair but thought it might be wrong. Thanks.
    – user541686
    Commented Jan 21, 2011 at 22:33
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    "Fayre" is just another spelling of "fair". The word meaning food is "fare"; I've never seen "fayre" used with this meaning.
    – psmears
    Commented Jan 21, 2011 at 22:49
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    "Fayre" is an alternative spelling of "fair", but I'm not sure about it being an alternative of "fare" (as in your example). See: is.gd/V1wM2R Commented Jan 21, 2011 at 22:50
  • Why is it pretentious? Some seem to use the old fashioned spelling to add a touch of class to event banners/advertising. It doesn't really impress me as more or less classy----but it sounds ironically pretensions to accuse them of pretentiousness.
    – user45588
    Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 22:38
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    It is pretentious because it pretends to an antiquity (such spellings disappeared in the first half of the 17th century) which it does not possess. Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 23:02
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Fair is the standard word in modern English, and is usually what’s appropriate.

Faire and fayre are older spellings, used in specific names but not widely used as generic terms today. So a fair might call itself The Cottesloe Village Faire to evoke historical associations; but except when referring to it by name, it would still usually be called a fair. (Just as one would write “Jayne’s Ye Olde Gifte Shoppe is a very nice shop.”)

There are a few exceptions: faire and fayre get used as generic terms within some historical re-enactment subcultures—most notably, for Renaissance faires. If someone writes “I’m going to a faire next weekend”, I would assume they mean something like that.

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    The one I struggle with is Maker Faires, which focus on 3D printing and other techie-crafty types. I believe this came from Make magazine's "Maker Faire" which launched in 2006, as I cannot find any references in Google Books, or elsewhere prior to that time. I always thought it was a pun on "faire" as in French for "do" but also "make" – but it might have also just been a way to parlay the Renaissance Faire vibes into a maker conference. makeuseof.com/tag/invented-maker-faire-2006
    – B. Findlay
    Commented Jun 3 at 19:26
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"Fair" is the common, modern usage. "Faire" is the old-fashioned (pretentious) spelling, but it's not out of usage.

Thus one goes to is going to a modern event, it might be the state fair, and if one it attending something more old-fashioned, it might be a renaissance faire.

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