WATCH: Farming fun brings crowds of eager youngsters to the 20th Norfolk Spring Fling
Hundreds of eager children rode tractors, fed newborn lambs and watched dancing sheep as a springtime celebration of farming fun marked its 20th anniversary.
The Norfolk Spring Fling, first held in April 2000 to connect children under 12 with the county’s agricultural heritage, now welcomes more than 5,000 visitors to the Norfolk Showground each year.
Organisers said this year’s event was the biggest ever, featuring more than 70 stands, activities and experiences including rare breeds and exotic animals, heavy horse and bird of prey displays, scientific experiments, sausage and ice cream making, sheepdog displays and the ever-popular dancing sheep in the Sheep Show.
Queues of families lined up to take a tractor and trailer ride around the showground to see the spring’s new arrivals, and helped to bottle-feed Southdown lambs in Mr Mawkin’s Farm.
New attractions for 2019 included a farmers’ market showcasing food grown on Norfolk farms, and there was also a chance for children to make a recycled plant pot and sow a runner bean to take home in the new Plant and Grow Zone.
Tony Bellinger is education manager for the Food and Farming Discovery Trust, which works with event organisers at the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA). He said the event had grown into an important education tool to inspire youngsters to learn about food, farming and the countryside which surrounds them.
He said: “A lot of these families won’t have engaged with farming before so this is a great introduction for them.
“It is about giving children knowledge – when they are looking out their window and see a tractor going by, we want them to know why that is happening, to know where their food comes from, so when they are in Tesco they can make better choices about what they are eating.”
Among the visitors was Steve Worley with his partner Natalie Clement and their two-year-old son Max from North Coves near Beccles.
He said: “It is great. Max can sit in a tractor or get up close with the animals. We live in the countryside but it is never that accessible, so coming here is great for him.”