Record crowd flocks to Stanton St John festival

thisisoxfordshire: Jamie Gilks with an infant crocodile at the festival Buy this photo Jamie Gilks with an infant crocodile at the festival

OLYMPIC fever gripped Stanton St John as thousands flocked to its Summer Festival.

To celebrate the London 2012 games, the festival included a Community Games project, with youngsters able to take part in a range of sports.

The weekend event, which had a record turnout, has been hailed as a huge success by organisers, despite the rain on Monday.

Organising committee chairman Russell Warner said: “I think the 2012 festival has been the best we have ever held, and certainly the most well attended.

“On the Sunday afternoon, when the weather was lovely, all our car parks were full.

“We had children queueing up to take part in the Community Games project. The link-up with that was fantastic.”

He said additions to the event this year, including a falconry display and crocodile demonstrations, were a big hit, along with all the usual activities.

He said: “It was a fantastic traditional village festival, with the traditional English rain on the Monday.

“We probably had between 3,000 and 4,000 people, the most we have had since it started in 1969.”

Among the exhibitors were Jayne and Clive Jones, from Wheatley Birds of Prey, who took along an owl and peregrine falcon to impress visitors.

Mrs Jones said: “The owl was the most popular with the children and with the adults and Clive was flying the peregrine falcon, which got a lot of applause.

“I felt both days went very well. It was a shame about the weather on Monday, but it was really good. We’ve already spoken to them about going back next year.”

Other actitivies included an art installation on the Millennium Green by Art is Just a Word, an Oxford-based arts charity which celebrates young talent.

There was also an arts and craft exhibition at the Holford Centre and an eclectic selection of music including live jazz and the Marsh Gibbon Silver Band.

Morgan cars were on display and activities such as welly-wanging and a tug of war competition also took place.

Community Games is a national programme which sees towns and villages across the UK celebrate the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Events are also being held in Middle Barton on Thursday, Witney on Thursday, September 6, and Farmoor on Saturday, September 15.

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