WATCH: Thousands enjoy sun-drenched countryside fun at the Aylsham Show
PUBLISHED: 20:11 26 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:12 28 August 2019
The sweltering Bank Holiday heatwave brought a bumper crowd to Blickling to enjoy the hottest Aylsham Show on record.
Thousands of visitors crowded onto the sun-drenched parkland of the National Trust's estate for the 73rd annual celebration of Norfolk food, farming and the countryside.
Among the countless Norfolk delicacies in the stands and marquees, it was the ice cream and cold drink vendors whose queues were the longest as the temperatures rose.
The show's enduring popularity is rooted in its agricultural traditions, which were as strong as ever this year with a record turn-out of beef cattle in the livestock rings - meaning farmers needed to work to keep their animals cool between the competitions.
But as well as the time-honoured displays of farm animals, heavy horses and hunting hounds there were plenty of modern attractions too.
The main ring showcased two kinds of horse-power with a spectacular performance by the Stallions of Substance equestrian display team and the Auto Stunts International motor-stunts display team.
And new show president Clare Buxton showcased the latest farming technology by arriving in the main ring in a hi-tech satellite-guided John Deere tractor.
"We have had a wonderful day at this beautiful venue," she said. "What I love about this show is that it really reflects the area. It promotes our agriculture and the countryside, and what a splendid and friendly place this is.
"I would hope our visitors will see that friendliness and make connections between a huge tractor in the main ring with perhaps a cereals display in the Food Discovery Zone, and then go to the food hall and see Norfolk cakes made with Norfolk flour from one of our farms. We've even had a farmer cooking in the Cookery Theatre. If you start making these connections, it takes you right back to your food and where it comes from, and that is really important."
The president said the show was also a great place to raise money for charities, as £31,000 was donated to good causes from last year's proceeds.
Individual charitable efforts at this year's show included 21-year-old Laura Marsh, from Binham near Wells, who boldly had her head shaved for Macmillan Cancer Support in front of the crowds in the livestock rings - including chopping off her 23-inch pony tail, which will be donated to be turned into natural wigs for chemotherapy patients.
By the time she led her family's champion dairy cow into the main ring at the end of an eventful day, the effort had raised £1,200.
The event also attracted visiting VIPs including Norfolk police's chief constable Simon Bailey and Lady Philippa Dannatt, who became the first Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk to attend the show.
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