Norfolk Spring Fling cancelled due to coronavirus outbreak
PUBLISHED: 10:19 18 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:19 18 March 2020
Archant Norfolk 2018
A popular children’s celebration of the countryside – the Norfolk Spring Fling – has been cancelled as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The annual Easter holiday showcase of food and farming was due to return to the Norfolk Showground on April 16.
Organised by the team behind the Royal Norfolk Show, the family event celebrated its 20th anniversary last year and had been expecting to draw around 6,000 visitors and more than 70 stands aiming to connect children with the county’s agricultural heritage.
But Greg Smith, chief executive of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA), said the ongoing public health emergency had prompted the “difficult decision” to cancel this year’s event.
“It’s extremely disappointing to have to make this decision, but the welfare of our visitors, exhibitors, volunteers and staff are always our first priority,” he said.
“It is very clear that the current situation and government guidance makes it impossible for us to safely run the event this year.
“This decision has not been taken lightly and we appreciate the disappointment that this will be to all those who were looking forward to this popular annual event.”
The RNAA says anyone who has already purchased tickets will be offered a full refund – for more information see the Norfolk Spring Fling website.
Mr Smith said no decision had yet been taken about the RNAA’s flagship summer event the Royal Norfolk Show, due to take place on July 1 and 2.
“We are currently reviewing the latest government advice and assessing whether we can deliver a safe and successful Royal Norfolk Show in 2020,” he said.
READ MORE: Coronavirus in Norfolk
The concerns over public health and government guidance against holding mass gatherings requiring emergency workers is likely to prompt more decisions on East Anglia’s programme of country fairs and rural shows in the coming days and weeks.
One of the earliest events in the calendar is the East Anglian Game and Country Fair on April 25-26, a two-day annual event which generally attracts around 20,000 visitors to the Euston Estate near Thetford.
Organiser Andy Grand said he had contact the government to ask for more clarification on the guidance on outdoor events.
“Obviously we want to make the right call at the right time, but it is hard to do that if we have not got all the facts,” he said. “It is an outdoor event and people can still go outdoors.
“We have got a couple of weeks before we need to make a final decision, but it will depend on what the restrictions are. We don’t want to put people at risk. If it comes to the point where the government says ‘no events’ then we won’t be going ahead. But if they are still saying what they are saying now it is very much open to interpretation.”