THE sunshine brought out the crowds at three popular events at the weekend.

In Richmond, North Yorkshire, organisers said the town meet was the best in years, with record numbers attending the fancy dress float parade, family fun day, mayor’s dinner dance and sporting activities.

The meet also featured a five-a-side football tournament, civic parade and cycling events.

Meet president Barry Procter said: “It has been absolutely fantastic.

“We were a bit worried that people might not bother making floats for the parade because of the credit crunch, but in the end there were about 15 of them and they were all beautiful.

“The mayor’s dinner dance was brilliant, and we have had nothing but positive comments about the whole thing.”

At Barnard Castle Meet, a US publicist won the world’s first chicken-chucking championship.

The event was held as part of the three-day carnival.

Attractions also included live music, a parade and competitions.

Committee chairman Mark Knight said: “This has probably been the best ever meet we have staged. It has just been fantastic.

“We have had a great turnout and great weather, you really couldn’t ask for more.”

He said about 180 people entered the world chickenchucking championship, won by Kevin Ewoldt with a 90ft chuck.

Mr Ewoldt, from Washington, works as a publicist for the Washington Redskins American football team.

Mr Knight said: “I was amazed he managed to chuck it that far. Maybe he has played a bit of American football.”

Meanwhile, a married couple went out for a quiet country drive in their vintage wartime vehicle and ended up as a star attraction at another of County Durham’s big events.

Bob and Pauline Parkins set off from their home in Spennymoor, County Durham, for a drive on Sunday in their 1941 command car, which was once owned by the US Air Force and based at Pearl Harbour.

They happened to pass the annual steam fair at Streatlam, near Barnard Castle, so went in to have a look, and were invited to put the vehicle on display.

Spectators were soon crowding round to inspect it, though there were more than 800 other exhibits, including fire engines, antique tractors, vintage caravans and motorbikes on show.

Mr Parkins said: “We had no idea the fair was taking place.

We just happened to see it. We were most surprised when so many people came up to look and ask questions.

“If we had known this was going to happen, we would have put on our special military uniforms which we sometimes wear when we meet up with other people who own this type of vehicle.”

Another big attraction was a 110-year-old Robinson and Auden general purpose engine that was used on farms for many decades and is now owned by Harry Lyon of Patrick Brompton, near Bedale, North Yorkshire.

Fair organiser John Toulson said that the event had been a huge success, with thousands of spectators calling during its three days.

A contest to find the region’s strongest man was won by Tom Scarth, of Filey, North Yorkshire.