SLIDESHOW: Country Fair at Hotham Park

PETTING animals, a pop-up church with puppets and Punch and Judy were among the fun at the Hotham Park Country Fair.

The fair filled at least half of the Bognor Regis park for the biggest fair yet with its mass of attractions for all ages.

Thomas Uren-Hyde, seven, with a rescued 12ft albino python.LA1500132-14

Thomas Uren-Hyde, seven, with a rescued 12ft albino python.LA1500132-14

The animal displays included Owls Out and About with its range of owls.

Edward Clark, eight, of Bognor, took the chance to get close to a five-year-old Indian scops owl called Cher. He said: “It was really fun. I liked the way it kept looking about.

“It was smaller than another owl I handled and that made it easier to hold. It was really soft when I stroked its fur.”

Among the other owls were Sky, a South American mottled owl, and a Canadian great grey owl called Phantom.

Meerkats and snakes were also present for a more unusual petting experience.

Making their first appearance at the Hotham Park Heritage Trust-run country fair, in its 15th year, was St Mary Magdalene Church with its puppet show.

Muppet-style characters performed a series of pop parodies with modified lyrics to infuse Christianity with humour.

The Rev Tim Crook, the church’s vicar, said the Who Likes Puppets? act was a popular feature of its Sunday services.

“This is our first time here and we are thrilled to be part of the country fair,” he said.

“We want to get into the community much more. We don’t want to be a holy huddle in the comfort of our safety zone. We have been there a long time (since 1254) and we want to show people about their local church.”

Parachute games and arts and crafts were other attractions at the church’s stall.

Crazee Hazee’s Punch and Judy shows provided plenty of laughter as well along with dozens of balloon models to delight children.

Nearby were shire horses Herbie, six, and Silver, seven, patiently taking hundreds of passengers for a six minute ride around one of the park’s main paths in a wagon driven by Luke Beech.

Their owner, Charlotte Webb, said: “The wagon has been pretty much packed every trip with eight to ten people a time. The size of the horses is the main talking point for people - Silver is about 185cms and Herbie about 180cms.

“This is our sixth year at the fair and it’s always pretty busy for us. Some events we go to are not quite as family friendly as this.”

Big and little piebald horses were present as well on Saturday with Andalusian riding taking their place on Sunday.

They were among the 88 attractions such as zorb racing, the Divided Line American civil war camp and a coconut shy. Entertainment included award-winning Elvis performer Ben Thompson, The Wonder Girls and Boys, Peter Pan panto stars, the Andy Beaumont Swing Band, BROS cabaret and The Triumphs.

Plenty of craft stalls were present as well at the event sponsored by Richmond Hyundai.

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