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Alice fans are in Wonderland
IT has been 150 years since Lewis Carroll first told the story of Alice in Wonderland on a sunny summer’s day in Oxford.
And though the sun may not have been shining all weekend, the city made sure the anniversary was one to remember.
From giant chess boards and hat-making to a nonsense race involving hundreds of singers and dancers, the annual Alice’s Day took over the city.
Playing Alice in performances at the Story Museum in Pembroke Street on Saturday was 13-year-old Pandora Dewan from Summertown.
She said: “It was good fun. I used to be quite scared of Alice in Wonderland because it’s like a bad dream, but it is a good story.
“I think the performances went well, lots of people came to watch.”
Her father Ted, artist in residence at the Story Museum said: “There were crowds beyond our expectations despite the weather.”
Making Mad Hatter headgear and getting their faces painted at Oxford Town Hall were seven-year-old Maddy Burnett and her friend Sophie Howells, five. Maddy’s mum Eleanor said: “We were listening to storytelling. It was lovely, especially because of the rain outside.”
Maddy added: “I thought it was really fun.”
At 12.30pm on Saturday, a boat carrying the Liddell sisters and Lewis Carroll left Christ Church Meadow, accompanied by a flotilla of Venetian boats. It was a re-enactment of the first time the story of Alice was told on a summer picnic in 1862.
Beth Boden, mum of 13-year-old Beth, who played a Liddell sister, said: “They were excited about today. They all love the story of Alice.
“It looked fantastic, I didn’t think it’d look that authentic.”
Elen Wade-Martins from Steeple Aston took her sons Ben, four, and Alex, two, to the celebrations. She said: “It is lovely, it is nice to do something different. The boys love it, they don’t care about the rain.”
Members of the Lewis Carroll Society travelled from across the world to take part in the celebrations, some from as far as Japan and the US.
Maria Smith, 23, came down from Durham for the weekend. She said: “I studied the theology of Alice in Wonderland for my dissertation and fell in love with it then.
“This is such a nice event. It is a lovely experience to wander round the city like this. It is just a shame about the rain.”
Rain was also the topic of conversation at Saturday night’s Midnight Stroll in aid of Sobell House, this year Alice-themed.
It saw hundreds of walkers take part in a nine-mile walk around the city.
Carolyn Mitchell, 36, from Didcot walked with friend Kelly Ockerby. She said: “It was really good, we were lucky with the weather because it rained at the start and we got completely drenched, but then it stopped and we had dried out by the end.
“We got to see parts of the city we’d never seen before and it is a big deal for Kelly, as she has family and friends who have been to the hospice.”
The weekend’s events culminated in a mass event, The Caucus Race, at Christ Church Meadow yesterday.
It saw people dancing and singing alongside circus performers and local perfomance groups – re-enacting a nonsense race from the book.
See today's Oxford Mail for the full picture special.