Banbury - Hobby Horse Festival, June. A new festival, established in 2000, a wild gathering of hobby horses and other beasts from across the country indulging in racing, dancing and performing all because of a nursery rhyme. Read more here.
Burford - Dragon Procession, on the longest day (21 June), a procession starts at 6.30pm from Burford School down the main street to the county primary school to join the fete. It commemorates the success of the King of Wessex in battle at Burford. Contact Charles Williams, +44(0)1993 823142.
Charlton on Otmoor has a flora procession on May Day. Children carry a garland of flowers to the village church for a service, followed by maypole dancing and country dancing. Contact Charlton on Otmoor School +44(0)1865 331239.
Ducklington - Fritillary Sunday, St Bartholemew's Church. Snake's Head Fritillaries on a 10 acre meadow near St Bartholemew's Church. A day is chosen between late April and the end of May when the flowers are likely to be at their best. The field is open from 11am and there is a plant stall and cream teas between 2 and 5pm. The Church also refers to the importance of the fritillary in carvings, a stained glass window and embroidery on the altar cloth and kneelers. Before WWII fritillary meadows were a common sight here bu the push for food production lead to the ploughing up of ancient meadows and land drainage. The last 10 acres were bought by a local family and are still farmed, though sympathetically to conserve the flower. The meadow is left between 1st March and 1st July to allow the fritillaries to flower and drop their seeds, then the crop of hay is taken and the field is grazed through until Christmas. Contact Edmund Strainge (+44(0)1993 772175) or read more.
Oxford in March is the greater celandine's heartland, it grows eveywhere in this anciently stony city, at the edge of car parks, on old walls, in cloisters. Look out for its bright flowers singing back to the sun before the trees come into leaf and cast their shade (see Flora Britannica). On May Day hundreds of students attend the Madrigal at 6am, Magdalen College, after all night celebrations (not open to the public). In September is St Giles Fair, on the Monday and Tuesday following the Sunday after St Giles Day (1st September) - This started as the Feast Day for St Giles in the seventeenth century. Became a toy fair in the late eighteenth century and a general fair for children by the beginning of the nineteenth. By the 1930s it catered for adults as well with stalls selling clothes, baskets, tools etc. It is now a fun fair. There is also a flower festival in St Giles Church. Contact Oxford TIC +44(0)186 726871.
Broughton Poggs, Chadlington, Charlbury, Cholsey, Dorchester on Thames, Drayton, Filkins, Garsington, Iffley, Langford, New Marston, Sibford Ferris, Sibford Gower, Standlake, Stoke Row, Swinbrook, Widford.
River Thames - Swan Upping, on the river between Sunbury (Surrey) and Abingdon Bridge (Oxon) during July. A very ancient and colourful ceremony which now has a conservation role as well. In mid-July, the cygnets are marked by the Keeper of the Queen's Swans and assigned between two London Guilds, the Vintners and the Dyers who in 1470 were given the rights of joint ownership of swans in the Thames with the Crown. Contact +44(0)1628 523030 or look at this web-site.
Apple Day, October 21st
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