Families snapping up EDP Spring Fling tickets

Michael Pollitt, agricultural editor Tickets are selling fast for the latest EDP Spring Fling - the hand-on fun event for youngsters at the Norfolk showground a week today.

Michael Pollitt, agricultural editor

By MICHAEL POLLITT

Rural affairs editor

Tickets are selling fast for the latest EDP Spring Fling - the hand-on fun event for youngsters at the Norfolk showground a week today.

More than three-quarters of the 4,500 tickets have been snapped up for ninth annual Spring Fling, which is staged on Thursday, March 27.

Event organiser Kerry Trigg-Dudley, who said that 3,701 tickets have been sold, stressed that tickets will not be sold on the gate and must be bought in advance.

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The latest fling attracted an attendance of more than 4,000 children and adults last year and has been expanded again as a total of 75 stands, displays and demonstrations take place.

Organised by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association and the EDP, it is aimed at youngsters aged between four and 14, which want to find out more about food and how it is produced, and the countryside and livestock.

There will be chicks hatching and a display by Norfolk Geese of goslings. And David Perowne, of Great Snoring Quail near Fakenham, will be challenging visitors to identify duck, goose, quail and hen eggs.

Most of the displays, which include making sausages and having them cooked by members of Ladies in Pigs, are held in the heated exhibition buildings. Butcher Terry Beales, of Harleston, will be making hundreds of pounds of sausages.

A butcher from the Walsingham Farm Shop will invite visitors to “Name A Joint” of beef and Catherine Temple, of Mrs Temple's Cheese, of Wighton, near Wells, give youngsters a chance to get their handy messy - making their own cheese.

A team of volunteers from the Norfolk Federation of Women's Institutes will be making pea soup and also some pea fudge, which was incredibly popular last year. Members of the British Edible Pulse Association will feature displays of peas and beans while the Birds Eye Pea Car also returns.

Youngsters will also be to get a “Fling Grow Kit” to plant their own seed potato and grow some garden peas, with seed supplied by Birds Eye. About 4,000 kits will be available from the Norfolk Young Farmers' Club stand and members will staging a display of “food smiles - decorated fruit and vegetables.

There are a number of hands-on displays including petting pigeons, organised by the King's Lynn Fur and Feather Society and the National Fancy Rat Society. The Petwide Petting Zoo will include reptiles, insects and other furry creatures.

The fling's mascot, a young Holstein heifer calf, Jubilee Manager, from Julian Taylor's farm at Starston, will be appearing at the event as part of the milk story. Tortoises, llamas and giant rabbits are also included in the range of stands.

The countryside area has been expanded and includes a programme, starting from 10am, and includes a display of sheepdog and working dogs.

A free activity book, which includes a map of the displays, has been produced, and visitors will be encouraged to collect “stamps” from the various stands.

The tractor and trailer rides, which were hugely popular, are also returning, while enthusiasts from the Starting Handle Club are bringing a dozen vintage and veteran machines.

All tickets are £5, which includes a hog roast lunch and apple juice drink, and are limited. The apple juice has been provided by Aspall's from its Suffolk orchards.

All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult, and no tickets will be sold on the gate on Thursday - only in advance. Adults must have tickets.

Tickets are available from the EDP offices at Prospect House and Millennium Plain, Norwich, and at Cromer, Diss, Fakenham, Dereham, Lowestoft, Beccles, Thetford and Yarmouth today. . EDP offices re-open on Tuesday, except Millennium Plain open between 9am and 2pm on Saturday.

The RNAA's office on the showground will re-open on Tuesday and tickets will not be posted after today. Details - www.norfolkshowground.com