East Anglian Game and Country Fair hailed a success as crowds enjoy rural fun at Euston Estate
An annual rural showcase was hailed a 'huge success' after thousands enjoyed a weekend of countryside entertainment including dancing diggers, equine sports and dog agility near the Norfolk-Suffolk border.
Undeterred by some cold, wet weather, a spirited crowd dug out their welly boots and brollies as the East Anglian Game and Country Fair returned to the Euston Estate, near Thetford.
The Main Arena was headlined by the world-famous JCB Dancing Diggers – one of only three UK shows by the team this year – and other attractions included the Mounted Games Association of Great Britain, the Sheep Show, falconry and gundog displays, forestry village, cookery theatre, 350 shopping stands and a host of canine attractions such as dog agility competitions, a pet dog show and K9 Aqua Sports' long jump for dogs into water.
Despite the weather, organisers said the attendance was comparable to last year's event, which was the first to be held in Euston after as change of venue from the Norfolk Showground.
Event organiser Andy Grand said: 'It has been a bit more challenging because of the weather this year, but it has definitely been a huge success – the traders seem very happy, there were lots of families here and the arenas were packed for the displays.'
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'We know our pre-show ticket sales were up quite a bit this year, and I think it will be up there with our best shows in terms of returns.
'We try to bring the best of countryside sports and interesting displays to the show and I think it is testament to the show to see the amount of people who support us year after year. We are attracting a lot of new people here too, who really seem to enjoy it. So it looks like it is going from strength to strength.
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Fellow organiser Tracey Grand said the attendance had been helped by a 35pc year-on-year rise in advance ticket sales, as well as an increase in membership.
'Many people wanted to see the dancing diggers and everyone has arrived with the appropriate clothing for the weather,' she said. 'Any time of the year you see several shows cancelled, but we are made of stronger stuff than that. Everything has been anticipated and prepared for.
'It has been a fantastic move to come to Euston. It is a beautiful setting and it feels like the game fair has found its home.'
Euston Estate director Andrew Blenkiron added: 'It is very much a success. I would say, given the weather, we are really encouraged to see so many people here enjoying themselves.
'To my mind it is starting to really fit in with what the estate is all about. Last year was a really good start, but this year it has taken the next step to becoming a true game fair.
'Speaking to a few people here, there are a lot of country folk who would come to a country fair anyway, but there are also city folk from Norwich and we are also attracting the general public from places like Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge as well, so that is very encouraging, especially for these organisations that are putting on demonstrations to better educate the general public, rather than just country people.'