A 230-YEAR-OLD tradition returned with a bang on Saturday as a town staged a sarcastic election with a series of silly events.

The Old Woodstock Mock Mayor election began as a tongue-in-cheek, anti-establishment protest and now involves a day of festivities revolving around the crowning of a new leader.

After last year’s edition was cancelled due to a clash with Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace, organisers went big for 2018.

An afternoon of stalls including Pimms and Prosecco, china smashing and hook-a-duck preceded the election, where candidates make speeches to decide a winner.

Festivities continued into the evening as the committee wore traditional dress for the procession through the town and mayoral dunking in the River Glyme.

Rachel Thompson beat three rivals to don the mock mayor robes and complete a successful day for the 38-year-old, who is also mock mayor committee secretary.

She said: “I wasn’t prepared to make a speech but I was coaxed into it.

“I think it did it good having a year’s break and doing something different.”

Last year’s mock mayor election was cancelled due to the clash with Countryfile Live as the BBC show’s organisers were unaware of the event’s existence.

This gave the committee plenty of time to prepare for this year’s edition – and revellers were not disappointed.

A packed crowd enjoyed the activities at The Black Prince pub on Manor Road as refreshments and live music mixed with quirky events such as an old vs new Woodstock tug-of-war.

The mock mayor election kicked off the evening programme and Mrs Thompson was crowned after the crowd shouted loudest in her favour.

Committee members changed outfits for the procession through Blenheim Park and Mrs Thompson admitted the group received a few funny looks.

She said: “It’s funny walking through Blenheim and seeing dog walkers with no idea what’s going on.”

After the mayoral dunking, local bands UnSocial Media and Indie Zone played the night away.

A raffle worth £1000 in prizes from local businesses rounded off the evening, with proceeds going towards Woodstock Youth Club and mental health charity MIND.