Stanton St John Community Games
This year saw Stanton St John in Oxfordshire adding Community Games to their long running festival, held since 1967.
Officially opened on the 26thAugust by new vicar Andrew Pritchard-Keens, the Stanton St John festival mixed traditional village fete games with a wheelchair race, birds of prey, a bouncy castle and baby crocodiles, providing events to attract and engage all members of the community.
For over forty years the festival has evolved to include an array of cultural events including live music, open gardens, poetry reading and story-telling for children, with Community Games becoming a central part of the programme.
Traditional school sports day races were held for the under-tens with a coveted Community Games certificate, medal and sticker up for grabs, prompting several of the competitors to return for more throughout the weekend.
The sack race proved particularly popular with parents who tested their hopping capabilities alongside the children, providing a big draw for families wanting an afternoon of traditional village activities and affordable fun.
The closing event and highlight of the weekend was the wheelchair race, with carers asked to balance a bean bag on their head before throwing the discus.
The festival’s organisers pinpointed Community Games as key to this year’s success, underlining its appeal to all ages and the importance of providing a good mix of traditional and new events. The weekend was enjoyed by participants and activity leaders alike, summed up by one Community Games organiser who stated that, “It was a joy to see so many happy faces... I’m looking forward to planning our next event and building on the success of the Community Games!”