THOUSANDS descended on an Oxfordshire village yesterday for a day filled with historical reenactment, fairground rides and a colourful float parade.

An overcast start to bank holiday Monday did little to deter families who flocked to the traditional Harwell Feast, enjoying everything from a dog show and falconry to 17th century English Civil War reenactors, go kart racing and a climbing wall.

There was even an appearance by Darth Vader, Princess Leia and Stormtroopers, for Stars Wars fans young and old.

Among them were Mark Bottomley and wife Kathy, from Abingdon, who were at the fun day with their four sons, Max, 10, Aksel, eight, Lucas, five, and 11 day old Ross.

Mr Bottomley said: "Lucas loved meeting Darth Vader and having his photograph taken but I think everyone's favourite part has been the ice cream so far."

With a barbecue, hog roast, a plethora of food stalls, several ice cream vans, and a cream tea tent, there were no shortage of options for something to eat.

Live music from local groups including Eynsham Ukulele Band and Harwell School's Singwell Choir were also on hand to entertain revellers.

Stacey Godfrey from Didcot said she and daughter's Lilia, nine, and Amelie, five, enjoyed the variety on offer.

She said: "We first stumbled across the event a couple of years ago.

"It's perfect for children, there's so much to do and the pair of them love it, especially the climbing wall."

Though the feast continues to add to its fun day lineup tradition remains at the heart of the event.

A grand parade of floats through the high street kicked off the annual celebration, with Little Pippin Pre-School's colourful creation named the winner.

Harwell’s May Queen was also crowned at the event, with this year’s royal court made up of queen Freja Cadman and assistants Ruby Edwards and Annabelle Turlier.

Throughout the day there was also a car boot sale and displays of classic transportation from steam trains and bicycles to cars.

Among more than 70 stalls for people to browse there was also local charities, which were given a free pitch to tell people about what they do.

Andrew Baker, founder of children's hospital charity Play2give, said: "There's a great atmosphere and we've had a brilliant response from people.

"We're based in Didcot, which isn't far at all, but I had no idea a village event was going to be so big."

The event has in the past attracted up to 4,000 visitors and this year organisers added more rides to try to encourage more younger people to attend.

Speaking before the event, Sharon Palmer, a member of the Feast committee, said: “Every year we try and think about what we can offer.

“The population of Harwell, along with much of this area, is growing considerably every year so there’s always more people who will be coming for the first time."

She added: “We’re all volunteers and we do it to promote the village and all it has to offer."