Royal Norfolk Show set for one of biggest turn-outs for years
PUBLISHED: 12:38 26 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:38 26 June 2019
Copyright: Archant 2019
Early indications are for a bumper turn-out at this year's Royal Norfolk Show as tens of thousands of people flock in for day one.
Pre-show sales appear to be up on 2018, when the two-day attendance of 85,000 was the best for 10 years,
From best-dressed fashion spotting to best in show livestock competitions, and from farm machinery to folk music - all that Norfolk has to offer will be on display at the country's biggest two-day agricultural show, which kicked off this morning.
This year the show has a royal visitor, the Countess of Wessex, who is the current Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) president.
She has been delighting crowds as she has toured the showground visiting a wide range of stands.
Despite getting off to a cloudy start, the weather is set to warm up as the day goes on with predicted highs of 16C and day two of the show is set to be sunny with highs of 17C.
Traffic on the approaches to the showground was heavy as usual but no major problems were reported.
First Bus are providing a Royal Norfolk Show shuttle services running every 15 minutes from Norwich Bus Station, Castle Meadow and the Norwich train station to the showground.
The whole show, including grand ring entertainment, will be open until 8pm, followed by a programme of live music in the Woodland Arena until 10.30pm on Wednesday.
Greg Smith, chief executive of the Royal Norfolk Show, said: "The gates are open on time, and we're off to a really great start to the morning. The rush hour traffic has been quite heavy but our traffic management plan is working as we expected.
"The forecast is good for a really great show."
Mr Smith said pre-show ticket sales were up on previous years.
"It's a mixture of emotions [when the gates open], there's a great sense of relief that the plan is all coming together but equally there's a sense of excitement and enjoyment of what's about to happen."
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One disappointment came as a low blanket of cloud forced the RAF Falcons Freefall Parachute Team to cancel their morning jump.
They had been preparing to thrill visitors to the Norfolk Showground on Wednesday morning.
But a blanket of grey cloud, hanging at 1,000 feet, scuppered the plans.
Flight Lieutenant Ash Grey-Smart said: "Unfortunately, as is the case with the weather, it's always changing, we have to pay heed to that."
He said the team of seven parachutists needs to jump from 2,500 feet minimum, an altitude which gives them time to open their parachutes and form the canopy stack.
During a jump the Falcons assemble and get to maximum altitude before going into freefall.
They then line up and form a canopy stack, which requires a lot of skill and precision.
Lt Grey-Smart said the lack of any gap in cloud cover would make such a jump potentially dangerous.
Visitors still hoping to see the Falcons might catch them later on Wednesday, with another jump planned for 7.40pm.
The lieutenant said the team is assessing the weather and will decide later whether or not to jump.
The Falcons are also scheduled to jump on Thursday (June 27) at 11am and 6.15pm.
They are all parachutists undergoing training for three years to become freefall instructors.
Visitors to the show are being encouraged to take a break and have a cup of tea on the EDP at its stand in Third Drive, by collecting and presenting the tokens which will be available in the newspaper until Thursday.
There will be a 16-page Royal Norfolk Show supplement in the EDP tomorrow and a 12-page supplement on Friday, plus live coverage at edp24.co.uk.