A FLEET of floats weaved its way through Witney to start the town’s carnival in style.

Residents lined the streets yesterday to watch 28 schools, clubs and organisations kick off the annual celebration, before converging on The Leys for an afternoon of family-friendly fun.

The park was busy throughout as revellers enjoyed live music, refreshments and entertainment in the arena.

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The carnival offered attractions for ages eight to 80 and Brian Wright, chairman of the organising committee, was pleased to see such a mix of people.

He said: “It’s that sort of event. We try to put on things for children and some of the entertainers were absolutely fantastic.”

Oxford Mail:

Mr Wright was part of the team making final preparations at 6.30am yesterday, ahead of an event that aims to raise £10,000 for local organisations.

The festivities began with the procession at 11am, with floats and their riders given a theme of ‘carnivals of the world’.

They did not disappoint, as revellers dressed up in costumes from a range of cultures, including Bavarian, Dutch and Oriental designs.

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A high standard of entries meant it was tough to choose a winner, but West Witney Primary School won the under-11 category and Witney Day Centre took the prize in the over-11 competition.

Meanwhile, MuzoAkademy music school claimed the prize for the best float.

Oxford Mail:

Families flocked to The Leys for the carnival itself, as old favourites like the donkey derby and dog show returned, alongside some new additions.

Performers such as the Bezerkas circus act wowed crowds, while an all-new tea tent - complete with pianist - appealed to those looking for a more relaxed afternoon.

A train snaked its way around attractions ranging from grand steam engines to stalls run by local organisations.

Oxford Mail:

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Witney Town Council held auditions for its first ever town crier and a steady stream of hopefuls donned the coat and hat to holler across the park.

Town mayor, Duncan Enright, said: “When I became mayor in May, I realised I didn’t have enough grandeur around me to suit this brilliant town of Witney. We should be bigging ourselves up.

“We’ve never had a town crier so we auditioned and had some amazing entries.”

Town council leader, Rosa Bolger, said: “It was really nice to see the whole community together. Everyone was smiling, it’s great to see The Leys used in this way.”

Oxford Mail:

The carnival is run by the Witney Lions and rotary clubs, Witney Round Table and the Air Training Cadets, while several businesses sponsor the event.

Each of the four organisations had plenty of volunteers on site, including Diana Birkett, from Standlake, working with the Lions.

She said: “The carnival helps to raise a lot of the funds for the rest of the year. Along with our Christmas collections, it’s one of our biggest events.

“It’s a very important event for the town.”