Festival brought the countryside into the city centre
- Credit: Archant
Thousands flocked to experience a taste of the countryside in the middle of Norwich, when the team behind the Royal Norfolk Show put on a special harvest celebration.
HarFest, a new one-day autumn fair, started on Saturday, with farm animals, state-of-the-art machinery and fresh produce on offer – all to highlight Norfolk farming's pivotal role in feeding the nation.
But things had gone much better than expected said Mark Nicholas, show and programmes director for the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA), as he told this paper exclusively they would be back again next year.
'We were hoping for around 2,000 people but it's been nearer 3,000,' said Mr Nicholas, 40.
'It's been a triumph, we've succeeded in bringing farming into the city to connect with the people of Norwich.'
It is the first time an event of its kind had been held in Norwich, and it made a big impression in the impressive grounds of the cathedral, whoae officials said the team could come back next year.
The free day included a farmers' market demonstrating the diversity of regional produce with a theme of 'Proudly Norfolk', while displays and activities supported by Norfolk Young Farmers showcased the science and technology which drives 21st-century food production.
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Mother and daughter Dawn and Olexa Solomka had travelled from Hoveton for the day. Dawn, 51, said: 'There's lots of children here, we've come with an open mind, we've only been here about 10 minutes but I've already got some vodka from the farmers' market.'
Jo Padda, from Norwich, was also enjoying the day with her family.
She said: 'It's really nice, I came because it's about being able to see animals in the city, it's unusual to get to see them.'
There were also performances throughout the day, including from local bands and dance troupes, and stalls selling their wares.
It was also a temporary home for Mr Mawkin's Farm, familiar to many younger visitors to the Royal Norfolk Show, featuring a range of animals from a cross section of Norfolk's livestock breeds.
Mr Nicholas added: 'We already know we'll be back next year.'