Suffolk Show off to a good start
A POOR weather forecast did not put off early visitors to the Suffolk Show who flocked to the Trinity Park Showground today.
A dull day is threatened to become wet later – but early visitors took the opportunity to tour the ground in reasonable weather.
Early judging was underway in the Suffolk horses section which was as popular as ever.
Among the highlights today are expected to be a demonstration of aerial warfare from Suffolk-based troops and the Grand Parade in the main ring.
The day started with a special breakfast hosted by EDP publishers Archant in the Vice Presidents' tent.
Forecasters say the best of the weather is likely to be this morning but rain showers are expected over both days.
But show director David Nunn said Trinity Park was brilliantly prepared to cope with any downpours.
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'The big message is we're open for whatever the weather,' he added. 'Last year's forecast was amazing, this year is going to be a bit dodgy but come with your wellies and have a great time, don't look at the weather.
'The important thing to remember is there's a show in Cambridgeshire that's been cancelled because of water-logging but that's not going to happen here.'
The show director was speaking as final preparations were being made to the popular show, which he said is estimated to create �45million of business.
This year will see a new shopping village and an extended military zone - featuring the army, navy and air force.
Mr Nunn said among his highlights is the sports village, which he said is at its peak in the year of the London 2012 Olympics.
The village includes the 'In The Zone' roadshow that allows participants to compare their fitness levels with an Olympic athlete.
There will also be the attractions you'd expect at such an event, including cattle contests, horticultural shows and a showcase of the best food producers in Suffolk.
Katherine Manning, of Rendham Hall Farm near Saxmundham, has brought 13 cows and calves to the show, including a Canadian Holstien that triumphed at last year's event.
The farm produces Marybelle Milk and she said the show was an important opportunity for people to see the animals behind the product.
She added: 'It's a really great atmosphere here, you get to parade in the afternoon and everyone cheers as you walk around.'
This year the show - because of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee - has been moved to Thursday and Friday instead of, as normal, Wednesday and Thursday.
It means in the horticultural tent there are exhibitors who do not usually get to showcase in Suffolk because of commitments at other events.
Among them is UK Horticulture who scooped a gold at the Chelsea Flower Show for its Diamond Jubilee-inspired creation that illustrates how gardens have changed over the last 60 years.
UK Horticulture's Penny Riley said many of their flowers come from Ron Geater's nursery in Leiston.
Mrs Riley, who said she would present Mr Geater with a memento to share the Chelsea Flower Show triumph, added: 'It's the quality he produces, I could not do it without him.'
Mr Nunn said pre-show tickets had sold better than ever but he accepted the weather may effect sales on Thursday and Friday.
He added: 'The last 10,000 will get up today and look at the weather and we'll perhaps miss out on them if they don't fancy it because of the rain.'
IF you're coming to the Suffolk Show pack a waterproof and brolly, weather forecasters say.
They predict after a damp Diamond Jubilee weekend the weather is likely to worsen over the coming days.
Norwich-based Weatherquest says today and tomorrow will see outbreaks of rain but Friday is expected to be the worst of the two.
Phil Garner, a forecaster at Weatherquest, said: 'There will be light rain in the morning on Thursday and it's perhaps going to be drier and brighter for the end of the morning and early afternoon before a heavier and more persistent band of rain comes in for the afternoon. So it's not the best of days.
'It's likely to be worse on Friday, it's going to be colder with outbreaks of heavy rain in both the morning and afternoon and it's going to be quite windy.'