PUNTERS enjoyed all the fun of the fair as jesters, horseboarders and pedigree dogs brightened up a dreary Easter holiday weekend before falling foul of the weather.

The 18th Thame Country Fair defied the conditions on Sunday as hundreds of people came out to enjoy traditional country pursuits and sample home-grown produce.

But the second day of proceedings yesterday were called off at late notice after the car parks became unusable following heavy overnight rain.

On Sunday, the event saw three arenas set up for activities ranging from falconry to a display of Jaguar cars.

In the Andy Singleton Arena, crowds gathers for the heats of the annual horseboarding championships.

This ‘extreme’ sport sees participants on mountain boards pulled by a galloping horse at speeds of nearly 30 miles per hour.

They attempt to navigate around obstacles whilst trying to stay upright.

Heats of the British Championships of scurry trials, involving teams of ponies pulling a cart around a field of obstacles, also took place.

In the World of Dogs arena, dogs showed off their hunting and sheep shepherding skills whilst also taking on fiery stunts with a spaniel abseiling down from a scaffolding platform.

Making the trip from Cheshire were Simon Parry with son Sam, 11, and wife Kirsty.

The family are involved in breeding a rare ‘Otterhound’ which is at risk of dying out in the UK since hunting otters was made illegal in 1978.

Only 24 puppies of this kind were born last year compared to 35,000 Labradors, Mr Parry, 43, said.

He added: “They top the list of the most vulnerable breed in the UK.

“After otter hunting was banned they didn’t have a job any more and have gone out of fashion.

“But they have the most fantastic history and tradition and they make the most wonderful pets.

“Although they are big, they are really relaxed and great with children.

“The more we can get out to these types of shows and talk to people about them, the better their chances of survival because it is a close-run thing at the moment.”

Mr Parry, a barrister, said the reception for the dogs was ‘excellent’.

He added that he was a big supporter of country fairs saying: “Anything that promotes the countryside and rural matters is so important and these shows are vital for that sort of work.”

Also travelling from far afield to attend the fair was Jana Haarbeck from Essex.

The 22-year-old took a break from her day job in the motor trade to help a friend sell artisan gin and vodka.

She said: “We were working most of the day but we got a chance to watch the horseboarding which was very impressive.”

Other activities included falconry, angling, archery and medieval games.