“It was an amazing day!” said one young mum “…so lovely to see everyone together enjoying the sun – thank you to all the people that came together to set the day up!”

People of all ages came to The Common to join in the first ever Pandemonium in the Park for a free afternoon of fun, food and games for the whole of the Chipping Norton community.

The day was put together by a team from St Mary’s Church who wanted to create a fun day out for the whole community during the holidays.  In Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire is surrounded by festivals such as Wilderness, Cornbury and The Big Feastival, but often these are beyond people’s budgets, and St Mary’s Church wanted to provide an opportunity for anyone to come together and enjoy some fun and a bit of a festival atmosphere.

Pandemonium in the Park boasted live music, festival face painting, archery, crafts and delicious food – all for free.  40 volunteers served over 560 hog roasts, hot dogs and veggie wraps and around 1,000 pieces of cake to locals from across the town.

However the heat didn’t prevent the small children from plunging into the ball pit or running around in the soft play area – and if they had fun, they are welcome to join in at the regular soft play session, Mini Movers, on a Friday mornings at St Mary’s Primary School (8.45am for a free breakfast and fun).  The older children enjoyed meeting Ace from the hit 90s TV show Gladiators who ran an assault course and an inflatable gladiator battle for the children.

Primary school-age children could visit the story-telling and craft tents. Teenagers and adults alike had a go at Bubble Football – this is a favourite at the weekly Youth Club “Remix” which meets at Glyme Hall in Chipping Norton.

For the more sedate, there were plenty of pockets of shade, to enjoy a cup of tea, slice of cake and the live music. Then were the more unusual opportunities – free haircuts for primary school aged children and free family portraits, taken by the gifted local photographer Alexis Knight.  A mum commented, “Our heartfelt thanks. It is such a treasure to get a lovely family picture.”

Another local said: “There was a real sense of community which was enjoyed by young and old alike, whether charging around on one of the many games or enjoying tea and cake whilst sat on a hay bale listening to the live music.”