WANTAGE’S Summer Arts Festival will return with a flourish this weekend.

The annual month-long event, bringing together a host of cultural activities in the area, begins on Saturday.

Renamed last year, one of Oxfordshire’s largest arts festivals combines around 50 events from the world of theatre, music, food and more.

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Highlights this year include a ‘Funky Teapot Event’, a picnic and cultural celebration for refugees and a Lego Fun Day. The festival runs until Sunday, July 14.

This Sunday, the town’s market place will ‘go continental’, as it is transformed into a French-themed cafe area with outdoor live music and a car display.

Thousands are again expected to attend the festival, which has been running for more than two decades but has faced repeated organisational challenges in recent times, including the festival being cancelled in 2015.

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Last year, the festival – then called Wantage Summer Festival – looked close to folding for good, but was taken on by the organisers of Wantage’s Opera Unmasked Group.

It had a successful return in 2018 and Wantage-based folk and ceilidh band, Pandemonium – who have been entertaining locals for 27 years – will again return to the event on Tuesday, July 2, at the Vale and Downland Museum.

Also joining a series of lectures and workshops on the agenda is the Wantage Music Festival, Betjeman Bike Ride and a British cocktail making talk.

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Organiser Jim Mitchell said: “The festival is a shop-window for the many incredible arts organisations that contribute to the social life of Wantage and surrounding villages. Although the festival is primarily a celebration of arts and culture, we wanted to create a festival that our rapidly growing community would be proud of.

“Please take time to look through the website and plan which events you would like to see. There’s a lot to choose from including many different kinds of music, art exhibitions and lectures.”

Most events require pre-bought tickets.

For full listings and details, visit wantagesummerartsfestival.com