CHESTER Racecourse is gearing up for one of the most popular days of its calendar: The August Family Fun Day.

A decade ago, the annual family event began on The Roodee as Sunday racing began in Britain. Tens of thousands of people flocked to the event.

Since then, Cheshire folk have booked their summer holidays away from the date to ensure they can be there for a day that costs as little as £6 per adult, while accompanied children go free.

Tents and gazebos will be charged at £5 per equivalent car parking space.

Even by Chester's standards, 2003 was breathtaking as more than 45,000 people encamped in the centre of the racecourse to eat, drink, and play in the sunshine - and to watch a little bit of racing in the afternoon.

This year, more of the same is expected for Sunday, August 1.

For those racegoers who like a really bumpy ride, there'll be a rodeo bull as well as velcro Olympics, junior go-karting, bungee running, magicians, stilt clowns, balloon modellers, face painters, caricature paint-ers and jousters.

Racegoers are reminded that car park tickets are sold on the day on a strictly first-come, first-served basis.

The racecourse's chief executive, Richard Thomas, said: 'Chester has become renowned in horse racing for the popularity of its Sunday race meeting. The day is great value and a very affordable way for families to have an enjoyable day out.'

The race sponsors are: Cheshire County Council's Foster Care, raising awareness of fostering and adoption opportunities in the county; regular racecourse supporter Halliwell Jones BMW, which will have a display of cars in the Paddock; Warwick International; the Sporting Options betting exchange; Cheshire Life magazine, sponsors of the principal race the Queensferry Stakes; and Aldford Glass, Chester, on behalf of Hope House children's hospice.

Racing starts at 2.20pm. Admission prices are: County Stand £25-£35; Tattersalls and Paddock £15; Dee Stands £7; Open Course £6. Car parking is £5 on the day.

As well as via, badges can be bought on the racecourse's credit card hotline, 01244 304610, which is open between 9am and 4.45pm Mondays to Fridays. General e-mail inquiries to