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Town’s carnival to be better than ever (From Witney Gazette)

AN ANNUAL event with almost 90 years of history in Witney will return to the town with a heroes and villains theme and is set to be ‘better than ever’.

Witney Carnival, one of the town’s most popular free summer events, will return to The Leys on Saturday, July 8.

Attractions on offer throughout the day at this year’s event include a donkey derby, a dog show, trade and craft stalls, music, and more.

Mayor of Witney Chris Woodward said the event, which is attended by thousands, continues to get better.

He said: “I think that the carnival is a magnificent event, particularly the float procession. It’s fantastic to see so many groups from all ages take part.

“The whole day just gets better and better each year, and there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The service groups like The Rotary, Lions and Round Table do an amazing job and they have my sincere congratulations.”

A carnival procession on the theme of heroes and villains will move around the town from 11am to 12.30pm.

The event will then take to The Leys from 12.30pm to 5pm where there will be a host of stalls, entertainment, food, drink and live music.

One of the events on the day will be a donkey derby that will have six races leading to a grand final. Donkey rides for children will also be available on the day.

A dog show will start at 12 midday, with a variety of mutts being judged at 1pm.

A wide range of trade and craft stalls will available throughout the day, as well as a variety of refreshments.

Town councillor Jim King is excited to see the event return to the town.

He said: “The carnival is one of the most exciting and well attended annual events in the town.”

The Carnival has been a staple of Witney’s annual calendar since 1928, when it was first started by the then British Legion– now the Royal British Legion.

It was originally held on King George’s Recreation Field at Newland and firms and schools would decorate a float for the procession – a tradition that continues today.

The carnival came to a halt after the outbreak of the Second World War but in 1988 it was revived by Witney Lions, Witney Rotary Club, Witney Round Table and Witney Rugby Club.

After restarting, it became more a fete than a carnival and was held at Cogges. More recently it has been held on the Leys and continues to flourish.

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