Get ready for the Norfolk Show with these must-see highlights
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016
As summer approaches, we've put together a list of reasons to visit this year's Royal Norfolk Show, being held on June 28 and 29 at the Norfolk Showground.
A ROYAL EXCLUSIVE (Grand Ring)
This year's show brings a rare chance to see a jaw-dropping display by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery – the Queen's own ceremonial saluting battery, which is making its only appearance outside London in its 70th anniversary year. Witness the power and skill of soldiers who drive teams of six horses to pull six First World War 'thirteen pounder' state saluting guns around the arena. The Troop, which has 111 horses in total, is an integral part of the Household Troops, and its duties include the firing of royal salutes in Hyde Park on royal anniversaries and state occasions. The Grand Ring will also see the return of another military favourite, as the RAF Falcons parachute team jump from up to 12,000ft to perform a breathtaking free fall display at speeds of up to 120mph.
CHOIR OF A THOUSAND (Grand Ring)
Sing along with 1,000 Norfolk voices as the Showstoppers mass choir project makes its debut performance, led by choirmaster Mark De Lisser. The 'choir of a thousand' has been assembled from all parts of the county, bringing together school choirs and community choirs to perform a specially-commissioned piece of music, composed by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, one of the UK's leading contemporary composers. The piece will have strong connections to Norfolk and its rural landscape, with a text written exclusively for the show by local librettist Molly Naylor and will focus on the earth, agriculture, and all that this beautiful county has offer.
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LEARN FROM THE MASTERS ('Grow it, cook it, eat it' stage)
This year's popular cookery stage will support the show's central theme of promoting Food, Farming and the Countryside with two action-packed days of demonstrations and talks by some of Norfolk's most famous chefs, revealing their best recipes and culinary tricks. The stage will also showcase the best seasonal and regional produce from Norfolk's land and sea, with a few special guest appearances.
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SHOP 'TIL YOU DROP (Whole showground)
Browse the day away at Norfolk's biggest outdoor shopping experience with more than 700 retailers lining the showground's avenues and marquees, including big shopping brands like Aga, Bosh, Citroen, Crew Clothing, Crown Pavilions, Joules, Kent Blaxhill, Kiehls, Van Dal, Volvo and hundreds of Norfolk retailers.
GASTRONOMIC TREATS (Food Hall – Adnams Food and Drink Experience)
Nowhere in the county will you find such a unique collection of local food crafts, merchants and artisans than at the Adnams Food and Drink Experience, packed with over 70 producers from across the region selling sizzling sausages, tempting pies, creamy cheeses and posh pop. With a focus on top-quality local food and drink producers, foodies can indulge in mouth-watering strawberries, local liqueurs and delicious Norfolk apple juice, before returning home with a basket full of pâté, pickles, jams, breads and other temptations including fudge, seasonal fruit, seafood, frothy coffees and amazing cakes. Plus, you'll also be able to watch some of the county's top butchers in the Art of Butchery as they slice their way through a host of demonstrations throughout the two days.
ANIMAL MAGIC (Livestock Rings and Mr Mawkin's Farm)
A close encounter with farm animals has always been an enduring experience of the show, and this year's event sees a packed programme of more than 600 livestock classes. Learn about the region's agricultural animals as you see the beasts parade in the livestock rings, and watch the rosettes handed out to champion cattle, sheep, pigs and goats. You can also meet some of the rarest breeds in the land by visiting Mr Mawkin's Farm, where the Rare Breeds Survival Trust will explain their important work protecting and promoting these animals. Meanwhile, poultry, rabbits and cavies will be featured in the ever-popular small livestock marquee.
CONNECT WITH THE COUNTRY (Countryside Area)
Try your hand at archery or fly fishing – or enjoy the rural thrills of pig racing, the dog and duck show, dog agility contests and bird-of-prey displays from the Raptor Trust. Elsewhere in the Countryside Area, there is a chance to visit the new Forestry and Wood Village or meet the people behind our countryside including the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the RSPB and other conservation bodies.
BACK TO THE FUTURE (Innovations Hub)
Peer into the future of food production at the Innovation Hub, where you can see some of the latest advances in agricultural science, technology and engineering emerging from the East of England. Cutting-edge research and innovations on show includes a 'FitBit for cows', which is able to detect changes in behaviour by dairy animals which may indicate they are in pain, becoming fertile, pregnant or unwell or not eating. There is also a remote-controlled drone capable of spraying crops from the sky, and scientists who can explain how decomposing food waste can be used to create antibiotics, new types of protein for animal food, or even cosmetics.
GET YOURSELF NOTICED (Best Dressed and Headline Hat competition)
Get spotted at this year's Royal Norfolk Show and you could go home with a £250 intu Chapelfield Gift Card. If you've put a great outfit together, you could be one of the stylish winners of the Best Dressed Show Visitor or Headline Hat' competitions. A team of Style Spotters from intu Chapelfield shopping centre in Norwich will be scouring the showground on both days of the show to find well-dressed visitors with their own unique sense of style. It's not about how much you spend on your outfit, but how your clothes and accessories are put together to make you look and feel great.
CELEBRATE THE ARTS (Art Gallery and The Green)
Marvel at the dazzling creative talents of Norfolk as this year's show becomes a major celebration of the arts. As well as the Showstoppers choir in the Grand Ring, there will be a fantastic array of arts and musical acts from local performers and artists in The Green. The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts will be bringing its expertise to the show, and the re-vamped Art Gallery on 3rd Drive will house an impressive collection with hundreds of pieces of art and sculpture on display – all original artwork from a wealth of local talent, both amateur and professional. Everything from graphite drawings, textile pieces, oil paintings and ceramic sculptures can be found.
EQUINE EXCITEMENT (Grand Ring)
Watch out for top-class British competitors taking part in a packed programme of professional horse riding and qualifying events across the two days. This year's showjumping competitions in the Grand Ring include the exciting Ride and Drive and the prestigious International Stairway. There will be over 200 equine classes in the whole show, including a record number of Horse of the year Show qualifiers. The Royal Norfolk Show is also one of very few shows in the country this year hosting competitions for all four main breeds of heavy horse – Suffolk, Shire, Percheron and Clydesdale.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW (Discovery Zone and Schools Trials)
Children can discover new science experiences and exhibitions in the Discovery Zone, where highlights will include the Institute of Physics, Master Composters and interactive displays by Easton and Otley College. The zone also includes a performance space – to watch educational and inspirational guest speakers, including scientists, poets and farmers. Billed as 'Norfolk's biggest outdoor classroom' the show has schools and careers trails packed with engaging activities for school children to take part in, providing a framework which can help teachers enhance the national curriculum.
PICK UP SOME FREEBIES
You name it – everything from free food samples to giveaways, stickers, pens and balloons will be on offer, meaning you won't just be part of the biggest two-day agricultural show in the country, you can also take a bit of it home. And don't forget to pick up your free show guide this year in the EDP which will be packed with all the information you need for the event and a host of free offers to use exclusively at the show.