Ferret races, Morris dancing as Kate village celebrates

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The village of Bucklebury tucked into a hog roast and held ferret races Friday as it toasted the wedding of its most famous daughter Kate Middleton in quintessentially English style.

The village might not compete with the grandiose surroundings of Westminster Abbey, where Kate married Prince William, nor match the thronging hordes of well-wishers that line the streets of London.

But Kate's proud homestead in Berkshire, about 50 miles (80 kilometres) west of London, marked the royal occasion in its own style with a special day of festivities in the countryside where she spent her childhood.

Union Jack flags were flying, the bunting blowing in the wind and a host of parties held across the normally sleepy village.

Topping the bill was the sold-out 'Tea In The Park' event, held in Bucklebury Farm Park featuring local bands, a hog roast, children's activities, ferret racing and a wedding fanfare.

"It's an opportunity for everybody to get together and have a great time celebrating a really wonderful occasion," said John Millard, 70, who has known the Middleton family on and off for years.

Kate's parents Michael and Carole, who met while working for an airline but became millionaires through a business selling party goods, still live in the village.

"It's just wonderful that something like this has happened in our area," added Millard, a part-time odd-job man in Bucklebury Farm Park.

Terry Howard, 60, works as a mole catcher on weekends in the park but is a volunteer helper for the event.

"I wish them all the luck in the world. It's going to be a lot of pressure on their shoulders," he told AFP.

Revellers tucked into wedding cake after watching the royal nuptials being played out on a large plasma screen.

Throughout the day, numerous other wedding parties and barbecues were planned, with a big event planned for the village green including treats including a champagne tent and traditional English Morris dancing.

"It's an experience for us all that we have never seen and will probably never see again," said Elizabeth Peplow, co-host of Tea In The Park with her partner Rupert Hartley Russell, who owns the park.

"We all remember the Silver Jubilee and, in putting this thing together, we wanted to create something that would provide happy memories for this next generation.

"This will be a magical day that we will all never forget. We've got all sorts of activities planned, especially for children," adding that youngsters would love the tractor rides between Bucklebury and the farm park site.

Bucklebury has also woken up from its slumber to become a magnet for global media, with an army of journalists, photographers, cameramen and broadcasting trucks seeking to tell the world about the newest member of the royal family.

© 2011 AFP

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