TWO events in Wantage are combining for the first time this summer to create a weekend packed with community celebrations.

This year’s Wantage Carnival and Rock in the Park, which is organised by teenagers at the Sweatbox youth club, will both be held in Manor Road Park on June 7 and 8.

A funfair will include giant inflatables, a barbecue, a bar selling Ray’s Carnival Ale, farmyard animals and exotic reptiles.

All the money raised from programme sales will go towards a major makeover of the park, including revamping the toilet building, new play equipment, a new fort, and creating a picnic area.

The Oxford Times:

Puretone play last year’s Rock in the Park

Wantage Carnival, revived last year after a 25-year absence, will again be organised by charity champion Ray Collins, with help from friends Ray Bateson and Phil Tynan, The Sweatbox, Wantage Rotary Club and The Comrades Club.

Mr Collins said: “Last summer saw the return of a carnival to Wantage on a scorching hot Sunday.

“Six thousand people enjoyed a memorable event with an amazing community spirit shining throughout.”

The event raised thousands of pounds for 14 local causes including schools and charities and was hailed as a huge success.

Starting at noon on Saturday and running until 7pm, there will be live bands at the park, from King Alfred’s students to old favourites.

This year will also see the revival of Film in the Park, with a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at 9pm in the park.

Sunday’s fun will run from noon to 6pm with a parade, more live bands and funfair rides.

Sweatbox youth worker Garry Kingett said: “This is going to be the highlight of the town every year.

“Ray has been really good. He appreciates how important it is for young people to be part of the community. We also appreciate the support of residents who have always been fantastic at supporting Rock in the Park.”

He added: “There is quite a variety of bands, from old warhorses to young indie bands.”

The carnival has received funding from Grove Parish Council and Wantage Town Council, and is waiting to hear on a bid to Oxfordshire County Council’s positive activities fund.

The Carnival Princess will be chosen at 5pm and crowned by last year’s princess, 11-year-old Jemma Giddings.

This year’s princess competition, sponsored by Room for Beauty and The White Fairy, will feature three categories – under-eights, nine to 12-year-olds and teens.

s For more details and entry forms, email Sarah Kerr or Jennie Ferris at or The closing date for entries is Friday, May 23