AS the Great Dorset Steam Fair celebrates its 50th anniversary, the Daily Echo is looking back at some of the amazing pictures from the last half a century.

The event, set to attract hundreds of thousands of people when it opens tomorrow, has seen generations enjoy the old-fashioned British entertainment.

The fair, founded by dairy farmer Michael Oliver MBE, started in 1969 on fields near Stourpaine in north Dorset.

It eventually outgrew the fields and moved to its current 600-acre site near Tarrant Hinton in 1998.

Mr Oliver, who died in 2009 at the age of 75, was prompted to set it up by his boyhood love of the Somerset and Dorset Railway. His son, Martin, followed his father to the helm of the event.

When his father died, Martin said: "For the steam fair and vintage vehicle movement he was a pioneer. He was a massive figure on that circuit, in this country and around the world. He was the Great Dorset Steam Fair – a legend."

Over the years the event has been enjoyed by millions of people and is a firm favourite in the calendar. It attracts people from across the UK and beyond.

This year's event is set to be the biggest yet with 500 steam engines from around the world set to attend. They include the 30-tonne replica First World War tank Deborah II.

There will be 100 heavy horses, many taking part in a ploughing match, and around 100 acts performing live music across six stages,

Stunts include Big Pete's Monster Truck Display Team and there will be a special World War I tribute.

The huge site offers an overwhelming array of entertainment, fairground rides, food and drink and traditional crafts.

Free parking is offered for day visitors with overnight parking at £22 per night. Day entry costs £20 for adults, £17 for over 60s and £8 for children. Entry for Sunday is reduced to £12 and evening tickets are £10. The fair runs until Bank Holiday Monday.