2016 Wayland Show promises a day of informative country fun
- Credit: Archant
The traditional appeal of the countryside – coupled with some high-energy entertainment – is expected to bring thousands of visitors to Watton this weekend for one of the UK's longest-running agricultural shows.
The 143rd Wayland Agricultural Show returns from 9am on Sunday, aiming to give families a fun-filled and educational day out in the mid-Norfolk countryside.
The show regularly draws 10,000-strong crowds, and the volunteer-run organising committee is hoping for another bumper turnout for this year's event, which raises money for good causes in the area.
New attractions include the quad-biking stunts of the Kangaroo Kid and the Highland music of the Phoenix Band of Pipes and Drums, alongside the traditional parades of livestock, horses and hounds, and vintage vehicles.
Another new idea aims to get the public closer to the livestock by giving visitors the chance to have a go at judging a pen of chickens, pigs and sheep, with the prize of a family ticket and £50 spending money on offer for next year's event.
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It is part of the educational element of the show which has also inspired the creation of the 'education pavilion', sponsored by buying group Anglia Farmers and training specialists Poultec, where visitors can learn about farming careers, food industry training and rare breeds.
Show chairman Adrian Soskin said: 'This is a traditional one-day agricultural show, run by an extraordinary enthusiastic group of volunteers to raise money for good causes.
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'The main theme is to create an enjoyable day out, to be educational, and offer a shop window for our local agricultural industry.
'More and more, as the urban and rural mixes in society, the boundaries have fused so therefore it is even more important to educate people, particularly youngsters, about what is happening in the industry and where their food comes from. It is really important.'
'Added to that, there are some really exciting things in the main arena, from the tradition of the fox hounds to the excitement of the Kangaroo Kid doing feats on his quad bike. Then, there is the grand parade at the end, which is always the highlight of the show.'
This year's cattle competitions were cancelled because organisers were concerned over isolated outbreaks of bovine tuberculosis close to the showground – but Mr Soskin said the introduction of goats and a record entry of pigs and sheep would more than fill the gap.
'This year for the first time we will have goats instead,' he said. 'They are a very important part of the agricultural framework in Norfolk and are becoming more popular in terms of their cheese and milk. We have got a demonstration of milking a goat, some rare breeds and some of the more familiar breeds.
'We also have a record number of pigs, with pig numbers up around 180, and we have had 100 horse entries and sheep are up to last year's record of 250.'
Wayland Show 2016 highlights:
• The Phoenix Band of Pipes and Drums: The 2016 Wayland Show is the first public event where the Watton-based band will be playing with Highland dancers.
• The Kangaroo Kids. Also new for 2016, this stunt show presented by Australia's Matt Coulter and Paul Hannam is famed for performing feats using specially-fitted quad-bikes.
• Norwich District and Goat Club. Attending for the first time, the club will bring a selection of different goat breeds. Children will be able to groom and bottle-feed kids, and there will be milking and hoof trimming demonstrations.
• The Shopping Village. This has replaced the Arts and Crafts Marquee, providing retail offerings from many local producers.
• Animal lovers can watch displays by the Mid Norfolk Gun Dogs and the West Norfolk Fox Hounds, while equestrian fans can enjoy an expanded Allen and Page working hunter ring.
• The traditional livestock competitions will see the champion pig, horse, sheep, rabbit, cattle and fowl competing against each other for the unique Champion of Champions title.
• There are also food, horticulture and crafts marquees, vintage tractors and classic cars.
The Wayland Show takes place on August 7 at Brandon Road, Watton. Discounted online tickets are available until the day before the show. For more information and prices click here or follow @WaylandShow on Twitter.