Photo gallery: Children flock to Spring Fling 2012
Thousands of youngsters flocked to the latest EDP Spring Fling at the Norfolk showground today and made the most of the 'see, touch and taste' theme.
The hog roast and apple juice, served to more than 5,200 visitors in less than two hours, was again a highlight of the 13th annual event, which is staged by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association.
And a team of volunteers took about 3,000 visitors on tractor-and-trailer rides around the showground. The chance to sit on a tractor seat was also hugely popular, said Bob Parke, chairman of Norfolk's Starting Handle Club. His members brought about 20 vintage and veteran tractors for the display in the expanded countryside area.
In the showground's new exhibition hall, Broadland farmer Louis Baugh, was helping youngsters climb down the three rungs of a massive 240hp Massey Ferguson tractor. 'We had a queue almost as soon as the doors opened and even later in the afternoon we were still busy. It has been constant,' he added.
The opportunity to watch cows being milked was another draw as dairy herd manager, Ben Etheridge, brought two high-yielding Holsteins from Nick Tibbenham's farm at Weybread, near Harleston. Dairy adviser Ben Watts and a team of helped handed out more 3,500 half-litre packs of milk, donated by Arla Foods. 'We had a rush from first thing in the morning and could have handed out even more milk,' he added.
Retiring show president Richard Jewson, who stands down at the end of his year at next Thursday, started his visit with his granddaughters by tucking into a selection of venison burghers.
Butchers Terry Beales and James Smith made more than 1,800 sausages, which were then cooked by volunteers from Ladies in Pigs. Farmer Susanna Jimson, of Mildenhall, was helped by her two daughters, Chloe, 13 and Molly, seven, who handed out samples. 'We've had frying pans cooking sausages on the go non-stop from 9am. We'd almost run of pork,' she added.
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Mid-Norfolk dairy farmer Simon Dann, of North Tuddenham, near Dereham, who was making flavoured milk shakes for visitors to sample. 'We've given away more than 2,500 pots and we've had a terrific response.'
First time Spring Flinger, Gary Ames, of Great Moulton, near Long Stratton, said this children, Henry, six, and Rosie, two, had really enjoyed the event and Janine Jupp, of Methwold, near Thetford, had brought Mitchell, eight, and Caitlin, nine. 'Henry's wanted to milk a cow since he was a little boy, so we're going to watch,' she added.
The RNAA's vice-chairman, Julian Taylor, said that the atmosphere at the event had been terrific. A review of the access to the event's car park would also look at ways to avoid delays, particularly for drivers on the A47. 'We may make some changes for next year,' he added.
BLOB Picture gallery on our website. Also more photographs in the Farm & Country pages in tomorrow's EDP.