Massive day two crowd boosts Royal Norfolk Show attendance

The Royal Norfolk Show's organisers described this year's event as a 'roaring success' after a massive second-day crowd boosted the overall turnout to almost 100,000.

Although visitor figures were slightly down on Wednesday, they were more than compensated by a bumper Thursday attendance which created huge queues of cars at the entrances.

The visiting Princess Royal told show officials that she knew it would be a good day after spotting the tailbacks from her helicopter.

Some of those drivers waited for more than an hour to get into the showground as the car parks filled, although stewards maintained there were always spaces available as they battled with the logistics of moving traffic around the site.

Official figures showed the total weekend visitor numbers were at least 99,000, smashing last year's figure of 93,500.

John Purling, chief executive of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, said: 'Children had the day off school so people got the chance to take their kids out and, thankfully, a lot of them chose to come to the Norfolk Show and got the chance to see the Princess Royal, who enjoyed her day here immensely.

'As an entire event it has been absolutely spectacular and I pay tribute to the staff and organisers and the huge contribution of such a large number of people who make it work. It is Norfolk's premier shop window and the opportunity it provides for businesses, entertainment and enjoyment are limitless. In a nutshell we have had a thundering good time, in a fabulous atmosphere.

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'We are very proud to put on such an event for Norfolk. Our latest estimates are that this show brings �40-50m into the local economy and that has got to be good for business.'

Mr Purling said any possible solutions to the traffic congestion would be discussed before next year's show.

'Like a lot of other events of this size we have got something like 50,000 people all waiting to get in within a relatively short space of time,' he said. 'We are very sorry for people who were delayed and suffered frustration, but this situation will get looked at very closely in the debriefing, and if there's anything we can do to alleviate things like this, we will.'

Show manager Sarah de Chair said the family-friendly ticket pricing policy had helped the attendance – but was unable to confirm if the prices would remain the same for next year.

'I think the show has been a roaring success,' she said. 'There have been a lot of families here with children, which has been wonderful for us.

'We have deliberately kept our advance ticket prices the same as last year in order to help families, and we have done a few more deals this year to make it more affordable for parents with children,' she said.

'But the association is not immune to price rises – we are just the same as everybody else. We cannot afford to run this show at a loss. We are conscious that the price of tickets is expensive and we will continue to do deals in order to help those people with families.'

The prevailing fine weather was only interrupted by a heavy 10-minute shower in the afternoon which led to the cancellation of a motorcycle display and a scurry driving event.

Another problem the show organisers had to contend with was disappointed visitors who had been unable to access parts of the animal marquees after finding signs warning of restrictions due to health and safety.

Mrs de Chair said: 'As you know, with running any event like this you are ruled by red tape. We just have to conform to it and it is becoming increasingly difficult.

'It only takes one accident anywhere to make you worried as an event organiser. People going through the sheep area with small children and pushchairs is something which will spook these sensitive animals and the exhibitors were understandably worried about that.

'There is always the chance to see all those animals in the show rings, and we do have the rare breed stands and the education stands.'

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