Thousands of people descended on Ilfracombe today (Saturday) for the South West Birdman Competition. Birdwatchers flocked to the harbour for the annual display of ornithological daring surely one of the busiest in the events 10-year history. Those unable to get a good view of the action from the quay grabbed whatever perch they could on Lantern Hill or St James Park. Others enjoyed ringside seats on one of a number of boats bobbing in the entrance of the harbour. After a brief shower and minor microphone malfunction birdmen and women took to the platform to shake their tail feathers in early evening August sunshine. They then took to the air albeit briefly before splashing down and being ushered to the quay steps by waiting safely crews. Organiser Ilfracombe Round Table waived the entrance fee this year but will be delighted with the turnout. Families enjoyed a host of all-day entertainment on the pier, with live music; a cider and ale festival; a farm Olympics event; circus workshops; craft stalls; games; bouncy castles; barbecue; and much more. Speaking to the Gazette before the event, Marc Newland of Ilfracombe Round Table, said: Birdman is the busiest day in Ilfracombes calendar, so we wanted to encourage as many people as possible to enjoy the whole day. It is certainly a leap of faith making the event free to enter, because its so expensive to put on and the small admission price was a large source of income for this charity event. But we hope that by making it free, we will get a lot more support from people who will come and enjoy the whole day and buy a beer from our bar or a burger from our barbecue. See more reaction in Wednesdays Gazette.