THOUSANDS OF people are expected to flock to Oxford’s main firework display and bonfire this weekend.
The 45th annual South Park Round Table Oxford Fireworks is just one of a number of large displays around the county over the next few days.
But a 45ft wicker man structure, which has become a centrepiece of the Oxford event for the past four years, will be missing this year.
Event organiser Jason Priest said Dan Barton, who previously made the structures, was too unwell to complete one this year.
Mr Barton was unavailable for comment last night.
Mr Priest, 41, from Kennington, said the display would still be “bigger and better than ever”.
He said: “We have spent £12,000 on fireworks and our bonfire is made up of over 600 wooden pallets. We’re hoping for 25,000 people to turn out in South Park, it’s going to be fantastic.”
A Jack FM music stage will entertain the crowds before the fireworks, with fairground rides and up to 15 food vans in the park.
Many other Guy Fawkes Night events will be held in the county from tomorrow until Monday, November 5 – the traditional date of celebrations marking the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when Catholic rebels planned to kill King James I by blowing up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament.
The leader of the plotters was Robert Catesby, who had been forced to sell his home at Chastleton House, near Chipping Norton, to pay a fine for his role in an earlier rebellion against Queen Elizabeth I.
Another spectacular event will take place at Culham Park, with fireworks, a bonfire and a laser show, along with glowing hot-air balloons, stunt bikes and longbow archers, who will light the bonfire with flaming arrows.
Organiser Neil Irwin, 68 of Sutton Courtenay, is running the event for the third year to raise money for charities including Help for Heroes. He said: “We’ve got a great range of events. It’s all about helping the boys in Afghanistan, trying to do something good and giving people a great time in the process.”
Elsewhere in the county there are plenty of options for fireworks fans.
On Friday people in the Wantage area can go to Grove Rugby Club’s fireworks and bonfire.
Saturday sees Bicester Round Table’s charity fireworks and bonfire at Pingle Field.
Gates open at 6pm, with the lighting of the bonfire at 7pm and the fireworks display starting at 7.30pm. Tickets are £4, with under-fives admitted free of charge. Parking is available at Bicester Village.
On Sunday Oxfordshire folk there is the chance to combine watching motorsport with enjoying a fireworks display at Standlake Arena, near Witney.
On Monday, Guy Fawkes Night itself, Kidlington Parish Council will hold an event at the Stratfield Brake Recreation Ground, while The Plough in Wolvercote will be dishing out steaming mulled wine during a free display.
WHERE TO GO
Friday, November 2
- Grove Rugby Club fireworks and bonfire, Grove Recreation Ground. Gates open: 7pm. Adult: £5, Family: £10, Children: £3.
- Fernham’s Fabulous Fireworks, Fernham, just south of Faringdon. Gates open: 6pm. Bonfire lit at 6.15pm. Main display: 7pm.
Family £10, adult £5, child £2.
Saturday, November 3
- Oxford South Park Round Table fireworks. Gates open: 4.30pm, Fireworks start: 6.45pm. Adults: £5, Family: £12.
- Fireworks, bonfire and laser show at Culham Park, gates open: 4.30pm, Fireworks start: 7pm. Tickets: £15 per car at the gate.
- Faringdon annual charity fireworks, Faringdon House, Lechlade Road. Fireworks: 7pm. Adult: £4.50, Children: £2.50.
- Didcot charity fireworks, Lloyd Recreation Ground. Gates open: 5.30pm, fire lit: 6.15pm, fireworks start: 7pm. Adults: £5, family: £12.
- Troubadours and Trobairitz Guy Fawkes special, Isis Farmhouse, Iffley Lock,Oxford. Gates open: 6.30pm. Tickets: £10 incl drink
- Charlbury Cricket Club bonfire and fireworks, cricket ground, Dyers Hill. Gates open: 6pm. Adults £5, children £1.
- Family Nature Club’s bonfire night, Barracks Lane Community Garden, Barracks Lane, Oxford. Gates: 2pm to 7pm. Donations.
Sunday, November 4
- Standlake Arena banger and hot rod racing and bonfire. Gates: 11.30am. Adults: £12, Children: £6.
- Bonfire and soup party, Cogges Farm, Cogges, Witney. Gates open: 6pm. Adults £3.50, Children £2.50. l Music and bonfire afternoon fundraiser, Isis Farmhouse, Iffley Lock, Oxford. Gates open: 3pm finishes 6.30pm. Free .
Monday, November 5
- Kidlington Parish Council fireworks display, Stratfield Brake Recreation Ground. Gates: 6pm. Adults: £5, children £4
- Bonfire night, The Plough, Upper Wolvercote, fireworks: 6pm. Free.
- Fringford fireworks display, Village Hall, Fringford Green. Gates open: 5.30pm. Donations.
- St Michael’s School fireworks, Marston Road, Oxford. Gates open: 5.30pm,. Adults £2.50, children £1.50, family £7.