Youngsters enjoyed a great first day at the Royal Norfolk Show
- Credit: Archant
From meeting farm animals to enjoying a mini festival full of music and dance to collecting stickers galore – youngsters had a great time on the first day of this year's Royal Norfolk Show.
More than 10,000 schoolchildren are expected to attend the two-day celebration of our county and those that visited yesterday had lots of fun discovering the huge array of activities. As schools got to the show early, most managed to escape the rain that came later in the afternoon.
Groups of excited children could be seen across the showground, and while fun was the order of the day the children were also given the chance to learn about agriculture and our county. Special School Adventure Sheets were created this year to help schools make the most of their visits, with the sheets following the themes of Grow it, Cook it, Eat it, Heritage and Conservation, meanwhile secondary school children could follow a careers trail about jobs in land-based industries.
Kirsty Lane, a teaching assistant at Rockland St Mary Primary School, was with a group of pupils at the NFU's Let's Talk Farming stand. She said: 'They are all doing about farming and agriculture this term and are learning about how crops grow. How perfect is it for them to see the heart of it here.'
Meanwhile Leicestershire dairy farmers Neil and Carol Bootheway, who are on holiday in Norfolk, explored the show with their children Thomas, nine, and Amy, four. Mrs Bootheway said: 'We always like going around the farm machinery, having a look at all the animals, and also having a look at the food hall. There's always a variety of things to do.'
Thomas said his favourite thing was watching some chicks hatch.
All the activities will continue today.
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A mix of music and dance filled The Green as young people from across the county entertained showgoers with an array of acts.
The Garage, in association with Young Norfolk Arts Festival, presented a packed programme of performances yesterday – and the fun continues today.
Yesterday Just Dance performed routines from Mary Poppins, meanwhile other groups that took to the stage included Pulse and Passion from The Garage, Old Buckenham Jazz Band and students from City College Norwich, Ormiston Victory Academy and Norwich School, as well as solo performer Pirate Joe.
The Garage's production manager Scott 'Scooby' Atkins said: 'We really wanted to create a festival vibe and over the two days we have more than 600 young people performing.'
And he said the rain yesterday afternoon did not stop the performers from putting on a great show. 'All of the acts are so talented. It's a pleasure to host such talented young people from across Norfolk on our stage.'
Mr Mawkin's Farm
Children enjoyed meeting all the animals that could be found at Mr Mawkin's Farm.
The area featured sheep, pigs, turkeys and goats, including animals from Rare Breeds Survival Trust East Anglia and Melsop Farm Park.
There was also the chance for children to make their own woolly sheep, enjoy storytelling sessions by the shepherd's hut, and witness the wool from a freshly-shorn Norfolk Horn Sheep be turned into a shawl by the Diss Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.
Carl Warren, chairman of Rare Breeds Survival Trust East Anglia, said: 'We are really passionate about agricultural education and about children learning about our rare breeds and about where their food comes from.'
Children from St Martha's Catholic Primary School, in King's Lynn, were among those to have fun visiting the farm, with pupils Charlize Mana-ay and Abel Shinoj, both nine, saying that the animals were their favourite thing about the show.
Teaching assistant Ginni Hutton said seeing all the animals was a fantastic experience for the pupils.
From tennis to rugby to horseriding – people of all ages enjoyed taking part in the array of free activities in the Sports Village which was organised by Active Norfolk.
Ellen Vanlint, sports development officer for Active Norfolk, said: 'We have a variety of different activities, something for all ages.
'Children could do everything from tennis to rugby activities with Leicester Tigers.
'We are looking to promote all of the fun benefits of being physically active and showcasing some of the sports clubs and organisations in Norfolk.'
Among the activities on offer was the chance to try out horse-riding on the 'robocob' horse simulator with Kimblewick Equestrian Centre, enjoy some football fun with Norfolk FA and learn some canoe techniques with Norwich Canoe Club.
Youngsters had fun learning about science and agriculture by taking part in interactive experiences in the Discovery Zone.
There was the chance to do everything from learning about what animals eat to finding out about careers in the countryside.
The Eco Team from St Mary's Junior School, in Long Stratton, had fun making fruit stacks and fruit smoothies and also took part in the grow your own potatoes competition.
Assistant head Kendra Collier said: 'It's brilliant. It's a really good learning opportunity for them.'
Meanwhile Surlingham Community Primary School pupils spent time testing soil.
Teacher Rebecca Jackson said: 'They have brought their own soil with them and they are testing it and finding out about it with real-life scientists. They are a really, really inquisitive bunch and really love science.'
Easton and Otley College's interactive exhibitions also proved popular, as did the interesting guests the college brought to the show for people to meet – including two corn snakes called Beanie and Corey, some Giant African Land Snails, some ferrets and some cockroaches.