OXFORD'S Thai community enjoyed another spicy return to Botley Park this weekend for a traditional celebration.

The popular Oxford Thai Festival celebrated food, traditions and culture from Thailand with a range of performances on Saturday and Sunday, with organisers estimated that more than 2,000 people attended.

Traditions modern and ancient were again on offer at the annual festival - but organisers had to battle a downpour worthy of the Southeast Asian monsoon season on the first of the two days.

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Ladyboys, Muay Thai boxers, masseuses, Thai cuisine, costume parades, traditional dancing and more were in the park near Oxford station, where revellers gathered from 11am - 7pm on both days.

Organiser Mark Vongsakul, 39, explained: "The aim of the festival is to promote the Thai community in Oxford.

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"We just want to show to Oxford what (we) are all about."

Estimating that Oxford's Thai population numbered a good few hundred, he added that next year's event would be 'something different'.

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This year, children's activities such as facepainting, family entertainment and various stalls with traditional Thai handicrafts were also on offer, with a host of dishes – from Tom Yum Goong to Khao Pad – available to sample.

Mr Vongsakul – who also owns the Bangkok House restaurant in central Oxford, and has been a city local of almost 30 years – continued: "We had massages, boxing, ladyboys and all the variety (of traditions) that represents Thailand."

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A variety of eclectic costumes and head gear graced the park, while pottery and a range of traditional goods were available to buy.

Performers took to the main stage, while a range of traditional music was played throughout the weekend.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Vongsakul added that the organisers will donate a 'portion of the takings' – in the hundreds of pounds – to different charities funding rural schools in Thailand, to help with books, clothing and any other equipment the schools need.

Entry to the festival, which is now in its seventh year,was free for under fives.

Mr Vongsakul said the event – which ran from 11am - 7pm on both days – would continue to grow 'bigger and bigger' in future.

He added: "It's possible that we might be changing location next year.

"We are always improving and hoping to add more variety to the shows and exhibitions - be prepared to be more excited next year."

Ahead of a meeting with the council about next year's plans, he said it was possible that the 2020 event could 'more of a street food festival.'

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Thailand, formerly known as Siam, is a mainly Buddhist country with a similar population size to Britain. Now a constitutional monarchy, it borders Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia.

Oxford United owner Sumrith 'Tiger' Thanakarnjanasuth hails from Thailand.

For more information about the festival, visit Oxford Thai Festival's Facebook page.