Tenth anniversary for East Anglian Game and Country Fair
Thousands of visitors are expected at the Norfolk Showground next weekend for an event celebrating a decade of bringing the best of the countryside to the city's doorstep.
Organisers hope the tenth East Anglian Game and Country Fair, supported by the EDP, will be the biggest ever when it opens its gates on April 27 and 28 at the venue in Costessey.
The event has been extended to incorporate more food stands and trade stalls, with visitors encouraged to try their hand at rural pursuits like fly-fishing, clay shooting or gundog scurries.
Meanwhile, the 11 show arenas will host displays and entertainment including a Shetland pony Grand National, complete with mini Aintree jumps, with 60 ponies and 14 young riders competing from all over the country.
Other new attractions for 2013 will be a Falconry Village and special area for alpacas, donkeys and reptiles – each with experts on hand to discuss their animals and demonstrate their skills.
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A central part of the show will be the Clay Line and Shooting Village headed by six-time world champion John Bidwell, who will also be hosting an 'Individual Pro Gun Challenge' with £1,000 prize money to be won.
One of the key themes of the show is to 'have a go', with no experience needed for some trial tuition in clay shooting, or for the dog agility competitions where people can enter their own pets for a tilt at glory in the arena.
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Show organiser Andy Grand said: 'The main thing is that it is for all walks of life and there is something for the whole family. 'You might like game shooting or you might just be a family with a dog who love the countryside but live in the town or city. This gives us the chance to bring the countryside to Norwich, and we've got displays from all over the world.
'The main aim of the event is to get people involved. They can sit and watch the main arena, but here you can try your hand at lots of things as well, from fly-fishing to clay shooting or the gundog scurry. There are lots of opportunities to try something you may not have done before.'
Mr Grand said the show's initial visitor figures 10 years ago were about a quarter of what was expected this year.
'Although it has grown, we have not lost sight of what brings people to us,' he said. 'The feel and the atmosphere is quite unique.
'We offer so many different activities and a wide variety of trade stands and all of our team is born and bred in Norfolk, so we have a big connections with the farming community as well.
'There is so much going on that I cannot imagine someone coming here and saying: 'There's nothing I'm interested in'.'
Returning attractions include the UK National Horseboarding Championship, the latest 'equine extreme sport' involving racers towing team-mates standing on mountain boards – almost a cross between horse-racing and water-skiing.
'They reach speeds up to 40-mph and it can be quite spectacular if they crash and burn,' said Mr Grand. 'It is a bit crazy.'
The country kitchen has a new line up of cookery workshops and demonstrations during the weekend from local chefs including Chris Coubrough, Richard Hughes, Damian Wawrzyniak, Roger Hickman and Sam Bryant.
The food hall will bring producers and exhibitors from across Norfolk, while almost 300 shopping stands will offer products ranging from fashion and footwear to gun-making and fishing products.
For ticket details and more information, visit www.ukgamefair.co.uk.