VILLAGERS in Cranham kick off the first day of an ancient festival this weekend.
Cranham Feast dates back to 1703 when the Lords of the Manor offered a feast of venison for their tenants following harvesting.
Nowadays, the tradition continues and it has become a three-day event.
This year, in line with commemorating the First World War, villagers will be learning what life was like in 1914, with craft demonstrations and themed activities.
Today kicked off with inter-village competitions and a barbecue.
While on Saturday there is due to be more competitive team events, stalls, barbecue and a cricket match before a family bar dance in the evening.
One of the inter-village competitions as part of the three-day host of festivities is a scarecrow, or rather a sheepcrow, competition.
The creative competitors are given a fake sheep’s head and have to build their scarecrow around it.
The Black Horse pub has dressed theirs as Ewnice the ‘baaaar maid’.
Dressed in a basque, Ewenice has caused a stir among the punters.
Landlord Chris Cardy joked: “She’s created quite a lot of interest from our male customers, who want to take her home.
“But she’s not that sort of sheep.
“She was a bit sheepish when she first arrived, but she’s fine now.”
The centuries-old custom of water carrying is being revived at this year’s feast.
Teams carrying buckets of water the old fashioned way, using yolks, will race from the village pond to the cricket club.
The lung-bursting spectacle will be followed by another traditional contest, the annual tug-of-war today.
A number of family friendly activities are planned around a theme of ‘Remembering 1914’.
This includes a dog show, beekeeping, deer roast and a family barn dance.
There is also a 1914-themed flower festival on display in the church from today until Monday and a brass band will play an open air service at 3pm tomorrow.
Finally, the annual feast dinner will take place this coming Friday in the village hall.
Melanie Churchill, chairman of Cranham Feast, praised the community spirit of the event, saying: “Over the years, the majority of Cranham residents have played their part to keep this historic tradition alive and spend months organising and preparing for it all.”