AS some of the last rays of summer sun beat down on Oxfordshire at the weekend, thousands turned out to celebrate the 13th annual BunkFest in Wallingford.
The three-day festival — which started on Friday — had the biggest turn-out yet, organisers said.
More than 20,000 watched traditional dancing and live bands, stroked sheep, goats and ponies in the petting zoo and had fun on the fairground rides.
Coal-powered traction engines sent clouds of steam billowing out across Kinecroft Park.
The annual festival, named after the bunk line railway from Cholsey to Wallingford, is staffed and organised by about 300 volunteers.
Festival director Dominic Feeley, 50, said: “We think it is the biggest free festival in the country, and we have people from all over the UK visiting.”
He said popular attractions included a “silent disco” on Saturday night when revellers bopped away to music piped through headphones.
Traction engine owner Arthur Honey, 66, who came with two of his red machines, said: “They attract a lot of attention.
“The kids just love them, but a lot of the children don’t understand what the coal is, I have to keep showing them the fire.”
Gesturing with his engine oil-stained hands to the bigger of the two, he said: “This one is called Lady Ann, and the smaller one is Phoenix. I call them my babies.”
The Wallingford resident said: “I have been coming to the festival since it started, when there were just a few tables and chairs around the Cross Keys pub, and it has escalated out of all proportion.
“I think this is the best one yet, and certainly the busiest.”
Arthur Honey with his traction engine, and visitor Bertie Chapman, two
Two-year-old Bertie Chapman, from Upper Basildon in West Berkshire, beamed as he sat on Lady Ann’s leather seat.
His dad Mark Jex, 45, said: “He really likes tractors and he likes these too.
“This is the first time we have been to the festival and the weather has been wonderful.”
Julia Smith, 58, from Wallingford, said: “We have been every day this year. As we live just around the corner, it is so convenient.
“It is absolutely brilliant.”
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.
Our top stories
9:00am Saturday 25th October 2014
BIKE safety campaigners have warned that cyclists are risking their lives, after an Oxford Mail survey found more than half of them were riding without lights.
5:18pm Saturday 25th October 2014
A FOOTBALL match was abandoned this afternoon after a bottle was thrown onto the pitch.
1:40pm Saturday 25th October 2014
With an extra hour to enjoy - or recover with - tonight is the perfect night to celebrate one of Oxford's biggest nights of music
9:30am Saturday 25th October 2014
Danny Rose is targeting a move into mid-table today as Oxford United visit Carlisle United in search of a third win in eight days.
9:30am Saturday 25th October 2014
FILM buffs were given a taste of how movies used to be watched as they turned out for a silent screening in Witney.
8:49am Saturday 25th October 2014
Police have said the 21-year-old Oxford University student who was reported missing has been found safe and well.