SEVERAL hundred people turned out for Oakham’s free diamond jubilee street party in Cutts Close on Tuesday afternoon.
The sun failed to put in an appearance but it stayed dry and lots of picnickers enjoyed their own celebration food and drink.
Oakham mayor Alf Dewis officially opened the once-in-a-lifetime event and then invited Oakham centenarian and former Alderman Tommy Southern to officially re-name the bandstand the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Bandstand.
Rutland High Sheriff Bart Hellyer used his ancient right of putting people in the stocks - with first up Rutland MP Alan Duncan. Alan gamely stood for 10 minutes being pelted with wet sponges, not by disgruntled constituents but by children who managed to give him a thorough drenching. Several other local “celebrities” took their turn later in the day.
There was a programme of entertainment throughout the afternoon, ranging from Rutland Morris dancing and children from local primary schools Maypole dancing and performing drama and reading poems, to performances from the Wrinkle Rock Band, The Latest Gossip rock band and In The Pink, a female folk ensemble.
Other attractions included a dog show run by Animal Helpline, traditional fun and games organised by Oakham and District Churches Together, a paint a portrait of the Queen competition for children, a barbecue run by the Lions Club of Rutland and soldiers from St George’s Barracks, North Luffenham allowing people to take control of a Rapier FSC air defence system. There were numerous charity and other stalls, a Bucking Bronco, a climbing wall, bouncy castles and sideshows and Rutland Radio compered the proceedings.
The Odd House Tavern, adjacent to the park, served a range of diamond jubilee drinks and the nearby Castle Cottage Cafe ran a Jubilee Pimm’s Bar.
The event was rounded off with a patriotic rendition of Land of Hope and Glory.
Earlier in the day a jubilee car boot sale was held in the Burley Road car park and these are to be held monthly in future to coincide with the Sunday concerts on the bandstand.