Weeting steam rally

The steamy spectacular always generates a huge interest, but organisers are hoping to reap the rewards of a good weather forecast to pull in a record crowd this weekend.

Hundreds of gleaming engines sent a waft of black smoke across an East Anglian field yesterday as one of the country's biggest steam rallies roared into life.

Thousands of people took a nostalgic trip down memory lane or experienced vintage life for the first time during day one of the 38th Weeting Steam and Country Show.

The steamy spectacular always generates a huge interest, but organisers are hoping to reap the rewards of a good weather forecast to pull in a record crowd this weekend.

From its humble beginnings in 1968, the festival, near Brandon, now attracts more than 20,000 people over the course of three days as well as raising thousands of pounds for local charities.


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And visitors were not disappointed yesterday as they were treated to displays from a top motorbike stunt team, knife throwers, fire breathers, escapologists, old fire engines, a parade of hundreds of vintage tractors and motorbikes, and a chance to steer a steam engine.

David Blackburn, grand ring marshal, said the first day of the show was about getting a new generation enthused about old farming techniques.

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“It is not just about enter-taining the public, it is about education and demonstrating traditional agricultural skills using steam power.”

“Looking at the weather forecast at the weekend, we are hoping for record crowds. We started off with half a dozen engines to support the village fete and it has just gone from strength to strength and now it is one of the most extensive rallies in East Anglia,” he said.

Organisers also paid tribute to local steam enthusiast Michael Gates, who passed away earlier this year. Mr Gates was a long time supporter of the show and commentated on the grand ring displays for 20 years as well as writing for specialist steam engine magazines.

“He was particularly knowledgeable about steam engines and gave a huge amount of enthusiasm and information in his commen-tary to thousands and thousands of people,” said Mr Blackburn.

Entry to the show is £7 for adults, £6 for OAPs and free for under 14s.

EVENTS PROGRAMME

Grand ring programme of events for Saturday and Sunday.

t 11am - Jason Smyth Adrenaline Tour.

t 11.30am - Parade of Steam Rollers, Public Steering, Vintage Vehicle Parade.

t 2pm - Grand Parade, Jason Smyth Adrenaline Tour, Parade of Tractors, Display of Fire Engines.

The Weeting rally is open from 9am to 10pm on Saturday and 9am to 5pm Sunday.

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