HUNDREDS of families have enjoyed what is being hailed as the biggest Otley Science Fair so far.

The all-day, free to attend event provided one of the exciting concluding events of this year’s Otley Science Festival on Saturday, November 16.

Visitors enjoyed everything from composting and coding to a planetarium after Otley Bellman Terry Ford officially declared the fair open at 10am.

Otley Courthouse was the main hub for the day and was filled with stalls, displays and experiments run by schools, regional science and technology organisations and other local groups.

Among the attractions were ‘tornadoes in water bottles’, cell movies and pedal-powered smoothies.

Otley Science Festival committee member Dr Sue Bowler was delighted with the turnout.

She said: “Hundreds of families enjoyed the final day of the festival with more than 700 people visiting the Courthouse for the fair - and most thought it was amazing!

“And we also had more than 800 local primary schoolchildren coming to the Courthouse for science shows during the week.

“The Grammar School at Leeds, which sponsored the festival this year, took visitors by surprise at the fair with their chemistry demonstration which involved setting bubbles alight on the hands of brave volunteers.

“This year’s fair was bigger than ever, with coding workshops in Otley Library and a planetarium in the Parish Church too.

“More than 300 people saw the stars thanks to Leeds University’s Physics and Astronomy department, who loaned the dome, and students from the Astronomy Society who presented the shows.

“Visitors to the church also had the chance to make their own planets and galaxy-themed sun-catchers.”

The fair had been preceded on Friday night by a wide-ranging scientific talk by Professor Paul Hardaker, CEO of the Institute of Physics.

His talk explained the relevance of physics to the weather, carbon dioxide,and the planet.

And on Saturday evening botanist and gardener James Wong brought the whole, six-day festival to a close with an enthralling talk about food and nutrition.

His presentation examined reports about the nutritional value of staple foods being in decline, and whether the scientific evidence substantiated them.

Dr Bowler added: “We’d like to thank all the people who came along to show off their science and the many hundreds of people who took up the coding challenges, entered into the experiments and had a go. It’s fantastic the support we get from organisations and people giving up their Saturday to show what science can do, but it would be a lot less fun without the chance to amaze, impress and entertain our visitors.”

Other highlights of the festival’s second half had included Otley Film Society’s presentation of Apollo 11 and a Science Lunch focused on black holes, led by Professor Clive Tadhunter from Sheffield University.