A TOWN centre was lined with tables and chairs at the weekend as people flocked to the ‘most talked about event in of the year’ – the annual Bicester Big Lunch.

Now in its seventh year, friends, families and neighbours brought their packed lunches and picnic hampers to share with people they met on Sunday.

Live music, performances and interactive stalls entertained residents as they ate together on Sheep Street and Pioneer Square at the ‘street party with a twist.’

ALSO READ: GBBO's Prue Leith at Oxford Festival of the Arts

Organised by One Bicester, a community group set up in 2017 that aims to unite Bicester residents, the lunch also saw 20 traders 'from around the world' serving an eclectic range of food.

Jason Slaymaker, director of One Bicester, who said he was working at the event from 5.45am, said: “The lunch was brilliant. It’s the main event of the year and it brings everyone together. It’s a great way to meet new people, make new friends and try new food.”

Banbury Cake:

People who decided to go to the lunch without a picnic opted for food on offer by catering companies. Some of the companies that served up a treat for Bicester residents included Abigail’s Kitchen, The German Grill Ltd and Caribbean DutchPot.

Although the event was well attended, it relies upon funding from local businesses, the Town Council and Bicester Village, which Mr Slaymaker said was vital to its survival. Other sponsors included John Nicholls Building and Plumbing Merchants, The King’s Arms pub and Bicester Leisure Centre.

ALSO READ: Oxford Eid Extravaganza 2019: What to expect

The day, which started with a church service at 11am before the festivities began, also counts on volunteers from the community to help organise the event as well as set up and deal with the logistics on the day.

Mr Slaymaker, who has been involved with Bicester’s Big lunch since 2012, said: “Without volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to hold such an event. We need more willing volunteers to help next year.”

The team at One Bicester will start planning next year’s community lunch in just two months’ time.

Banbury Cake:

In the run up to the day, a competition was held on the One Bicester Facebook page where people had to submit their opinions on why they thought it was good to have Bicester’s Big Lunch every year.

Emma White, from Bicester, who entered the competition, gave her reason.

She said: “I have three young children and all they see is the day to day routine of town. When Bicester’s Big Lunch comes to town they get to join in with a very caring community which - aside from the crimes documented on Facebook every so often - is a lovely place to live.

ALSO READ: Oxfam plans to open giant charity shop in Oxford

“I want them to be proud to come from here and to enjoy joining in with these memory- making events now and in the future.”

Banbury Cake:

Despite the bad weather, people also enjoyed performances from local sports groups in the Sheep Street Arena such as Bicester ECU Allstar Cheerleading, Freestyle Martial Arts and Circus Skills.

Local bands performed in the town centre too such as Rhythm Street and people had the chance to show their musical talents by taking part in a drumming workshop.

One Bicester thanked everyone who attended and helped out.