OLD TOWN enjoyed one of its busiest Sundays ever this weekend, as the Sausage and Ale Trail returned for its fourth year.

Business owners on Wood Street and beyond were left delighted by the number of visitors who flocked to the event yesterday.

Kris Talikowski, owner of The Core juice bar and deputy chairman of the Old Town Business Association, which organises the trail, estimated visitor numbers at 4,000 – smashing last year’s figure of 3,000.

“I’ve never seen Old Town so busy on a Sunday,” he said. “The support from the community for the Sausage and Ale Trail has been fantastic. The weather has really helped. It’s been beautiful.”

He said that an event map, designed by Victoria Road-based Hot Pepper Design, had helped interest lots more families in the event.

People were offered the chance to win an array of prizes, including a meal for two at Bardolinos and a hamper of treats from Wood Street delicatessen Balulas. To be in with a chance of winning, they needed to collect two stickers from six businesses across Old Town.

On Wood Street, people were guzzling takeaway treats, including barbecue ribs from Helen Brownings Chop House and hot dogs from High Street butchers Wilson’s.

Frances Strange, 73, of Old Walcot, said of the day: “It’s brilliant. I don’t think I’ve seen Old Town so busy. Old Town really does try to regenerate itself – and it’s doing really well.”

Mum Georgie Sturla, 42, of Abbey Meads, said of the day: “It’s good fun. There’s a great atmosphere, we’re loving it. There are lots of people about.”

Asked what her favourite part of the trail had been, daughter Grace, seven, smiled: “The cheese toastie.”

While the crowds munched and drank, they were entertained by a roster of five local bands – including youngsters Midnight Activists.

Local businesses and artists were represented along a packed Wood Street.

Elliot Pether, general manager of Anytime Fitness, asked passers-by to guess the weight of a “protein sausage” – a bag of goodies, including protein bars and gym passes. “It’s a really nice day,” he said. “It’s good to support the community.”

Artist Caroline Day hoped to encourage children to get their hands dirty and help her paint flowers onto two large boards. “It’s brilliant,” she said. “All the parents are getting involved too.” The finished product will be posted to her Facebook page, she said.

Almost 30 businesses took part in the trail. The Old Town Business Association’s next public event will be the Christmas light switch-on on Sunday, November 26, from 1pm.