Families flock to festival of fun

People’s Park was packed full on Sunday for Banbury’s popular annual Town Mayor’s Sunday and Hobby Horse festival.

The festivities kicked off with a parade led by the town crier and civic dignitaries from the Town Hall along High Street and North Bar to People’s Park.

Banbury Town Crier Anthony Church leads the Hobby Horse procession. Pictures by Lucy Ford

Banbury Town Crier Anthony Church leads the Hobby Horse procession. Pictures by Lucy Ford

The park was lined with stalls promoting charities and town organisations selling food and drink.

Families gathered to enjoy a host of events including a performance by the Royal British Legion Shires Band, a boxing display from Dave Earle and members of the Spit ‘n’ Sawdust gym and a performance by pupils of the Sharon Green Dance Academy.

Then there were the popular children and adult hobby horse races in which teams rode their wooden horses to compete against each other on the specially marked track .

Cllr Woodcock said: “I think it’s a good mixture between modernity and the traditions of the town.”

Nolan Wakelin, who attended the event with his children Nikita and Nancy, said: “It’s great at the moment. I’m enjoying it. It was great for the children to take part in the parade.” Dave Earle, owner of Spit ‘n’ Sawdust gym, said: “It’s a great opportunity for the people of Banbury to get together. I’m here every year and often compete in the hobby horse races.”

Mr Earle’s son Maxie, who travelled home from university in London especially for the event, added: “It’s good that all ages come together from children to older people.

“It’s nice when stuff like this happens. It makes you feel at home again.” Radio Horton also broadcast from the event as part of the station’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Town Mayor’s Sunday started in 1997 when mayor Steve Kilsby celebrated his inauguration with a ‘party in the park’ .

The Hobby Horse festival revives medieval traditions banned by the Puritan-led governments in the 17th century but brought back ten years ago by a group of enthusiasts. The two events were originally run separately but are now combined.

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