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Olympics bring a fun-filled afternoon

Thousands of people enjoyed a sunny carnival in the Northamptonshire village of Helmdon on Monday.

The theme this year was The Olympics, very appropriate as the 22nd annual carnival took place on the day the successful team GB returned from the Olympic Games in Athens.

Despite the cancellation of a fancy dress parade and some erratic weather, families made the most of a good value and fun-packed afternoon.

Eddie Garner, of the Helmdon Carnival Committee, said: "In the morning there was activity all round the village with people getting stalls ready and making last minute preparations.

"Unfortunately there was no procession this year as rocketing insurance costs - as high as £250 per float per hour - forced the organisers to abandon the tradition for the first time in the carnival's history."

A fun dog show started proceedings in the main arena. Classes included: prettiest bitch, handsomnest dog, waggiest tail prettiest eyes, and best six legs, including handler. Later there was a tug-of-war and grand prize draw.

"Although the day was mainly dry and sunny, the strong wind meant that the skydivers and model helicopter display had to be cancelled," added Mr Garner.

Elsewhere, children were kept entertained by quad-bike racing, a coconut shy and were able to test their skills at archery, in keeping with the Olympic theme.

Other attractions included a Second World War tank, sheep shearing and a display of vintage tractors. Vintage ploughing took place in a field opposite the carnival site to show how times have changed.

Beer, burgers and an authentic old sweet shop kept visitors well nourished.

The carnival was held on sports fields outside the village for the benefit of Brackley Cottage Hospital, Helmdon Sports Club, and the village hall.

Other beneficiaries will be decided at a later date.

The Banbury Guardian - 2nd September 2004

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