Abingdon will start looking blooming lovely again on Saturday when the annual Abingdon in Bloom flower festival begins - and this time the theme will not only include green-fingered help but advice on energy conservation and re-cycling.

The newly-titled Spring Festival to launch Abingdon in Bloom will include a mini-floral parade of floats, maypole, country and clogg dancing and Punch and Judy shows. The square will be filled with stalls and exhibitions including nine farmers' market stallholders. There will also be advice on how to compost garden waste, re-cycling materials and how to be more careful when using energy.

Abingdon in Bloom receives support from the Chamber of Commerce, traders and many businesses.

Abingdon has had its successes in the past with the flower show and, in 1993, scooped the Large Town prize - and now the town is pulling out all the stops to get back on to the prize list after coming second to Banbury last year.

The new President of the Chamber of Commerce, Jill Rayner, is a big supporter of the competition. She praised the amount of hard work and dedication put into the competition by a committee of town councillors, traders and local groups.

Mrs Rayner said: "Abingdon in Bloom makes the town a more attractive place in which to live, work and visit. This in turn attracts more visitors and provides customers for our businesses and helps the town thrive."

For £48 shops and businesses can have hanging baskets outside their premises prepared and maintained by the town council. Local firms can also sponsor floral displays in and around the town.

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