STARS, food and animals have thrilled Countryfile Live crowds over the first two days of the event.

Organisers expect smaller crowds this year – of around 80,000 people and 10,000 dogs – for the annual countryside extravaganza, which began on Thursday.

Blenheim Palace is hosting the event for its fourth year in a row, with a rejuvenated programme packed with local talent as part of all new food, drink and entertainment area the Graze Inn.

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Revellers are enjoying singers, songwriters, comics, ukulele bands at the new site in the grounds of the palace.

Event Director Tim Etchells explained: "We've had a great start to the show with perfect Countryfile Live weather so far.

"This year we have over 700 exhibitors and we're expecting up to 80,000 people and up to 10,000 dogs over four days. We've created 20 feature areas spanning 250,000 sqm of Blenheim Palace's Parkland; with everything from Shetland pony racing to pond dipping and Brian Turner in the Le Creuset Kitchen Theatre with a host of celebrity chefs."

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He continued: "There's a ton of animals with the Mane Arena, Dog Lover's Arena and the Farmyard, as well as the ever-popular Dog and Duck Show.

"The presenters have been taking over the Main Stage and Big Barn, giving visitors a behind the scenes glimpse into the creation of the programme, alongside some amazing guests and contributors to the show."

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Elsewhere, pop singer-songwriter Danny Mellin performed to crowds yesterday, followed by singer-songwriter Ellie May, 16, comedian Mark Hinds, and soulful Sabine and Sofie Elyse, who produced her first original song aged 10.

First time Countryfile goer Jessica Way, a 40-year-old hospice nurse, said: "It was amazing to see the Countryfile team up close and personal. There was great food and drink and so much to see and do."

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Friend Vicki Nankivell, a dog sitter, 48, added: "It is a great day out for all the family - relaxed, fun filled, with lots to watch, learn, and do."

Director Mr Etchells added today: "Last year we had visitors from every county in the UK and the first person through the gates this morning came from Australia. He's been every year and coincides his travels to come."

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Tomorrow sees Anouska Brunsdon’s feel good indie-folk, before Whitney MUGz's ukulele and classic sing-along songs, soulful Americana artist Lisa Doscher and indie/surf rock band Quartermelon closing out.

The final day of the Graze Inn includes Kitty Speed and Captain Cuppa & The Zepplin Crew, followed by Woodstock’s own indie-punk four-piece The Dollymops, loop artist Riley K and Gemma Hall.