Sun shines on weekend of family fun

The sun shone, the crowds came out and Norfolk's scorching summer saw its busiest weekend yet of family fun. Five festivals got under way in towns and villages across the county - some the hardy perennials of the summer calendar, others in their inaugural year.

The sun shone, the crowds came out and Norfolk's scorching summer saw its busiest weekend yet of family fun.

Five festivals got under way in towns and villages across the county - some the hardy perennials of the summer calendar, others in their inaugural year.

The first Attleborough Festival drew hundreds of people to the town and was last night hailed a great success.

The two-day event, organised by the town council, included live music and a farmers' market, as well as a craft fair, puppet show and flower display.

About a dozen gardens in and around the town were also opened up to the public, while local butcher Tony Perkins and Attleborough-based brewer Wolfe Witham, of the Wolf Brewery, created a special Festival Banger, which was sold in the run-up and during the event.

Mr Perkins said: "I think the festival is a good idea. Things like this bring people into the town and put it on the map."

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Town councillor and tourism committee member, Peter Neal, said they were "very pleased" with how the festival, which involved eight different venues, had gone.

"Attleborough is a very good town, there is lots in it and it's bringing everything together really," he said.

Thousands of people were drawn to the Clifftop Gala in Gorleston over the weekend.

It was the first year that the gala had taken place over two days - and the crowds rolled in on both.

Highlights included music from local bands and a funfair on Saturday evening, while yesterday saw the main attractions, including bungee jumping, classic car displays, children's entertainment and model car racing.

In a moment of drama down on the beach, firefighters had to be called to free a little girl who had got her leg stuck in a bench. But her parents' worry was shortlived.

Meanwhile, on the north Norfolk coast, Wells Carnival got off to a laugh-a-minute start as when top comic Jimmy Jones treated a 200-strong audience to his own brand of no-holds barred humour.

In a new venture for the carnival, the "naughty-but-nice" cabaret-style evening on Saturday went down well with the adults-only audience.

The success of the venture delighted carnival committee member, James Platten, who was responsible for arranging the event and bringing the veteran comic to Wells. Supporting Jimmy were the Norwich-based rock, pop and soul duo, Roxy (Liza Wolfe and Stacy Collins)

"We were delighted with the success of the evening. Jimmy Jones was on top form and had everyone in stitches and we hope to build on it in some way for next year's Carnival," said Mr Platten.

Yesterday the highlight was the crowning of the Carnival Queen, Kelly Fait, by Wells lifeboat coxswain, Allan Frary.

Today a packed programme of events include kite-making and seaside-theme workshops, a history walk and open-air evening disco.

Elsewhere on Saturday, hundreds of visitors clogged the main street in Langham, near Holt, to delve into the rich selection of arts, crafts and live entertainment at the annual street fair.

A quick browse offered a trip across continents and culture with stalls selling ancient maps, chunky Tanzanian jewellery and delicate watercolours of Norfolk landscapes.

For both traders and organisers the day was a show of old fashioned community spirit in an age where big business has ripped the heart out of many villages.

Fair committee member John Hope said: "We feel that it is so important for the community to bring people together from across the area."

He said the event was growing every year but felt it had reached its maximum size without losing its identity.

Money raised from this year's event will go towards supporting the village hall, the village church and new play equipment on the village playing field.

The first Appleyard Fayre on Saturday brought theatre, side shows, music and crafts to the village of Banham, near Attleborough.

The event at Appleyard Meadow aimed to recreate the traditional country fayre while raising money for three local charities - East Anglia's Children's Hospices, Norfolk Autistic Society and Eastern Counties Heavy Horse Association.

Local sculptor Jon Bickley also cast a bronze bell during to celebrate the fayre, which it is hoped will become an annual event.

All in all, right across the county, it was a weekend to remember.