Norwich Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 4°C

min temp: -0°C

Photo gallery: Fire-breathing mechanical horse the star of Norfolk and Norwich Festival at Chapelfield Gardens

PUBLISHED: 11:46 19 May 2014

Paka Johnson 'Out and About with a Whinny and a Canter' in Chapelfield Gardens as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2014. Photo: Steve Adams

Paka Johnson 'Out and About with a Whinny and a Canter' in Chapelfield Gardens as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2014. Photo: Steve Adams

A fire-breathing mechanical horse was among the curious creations to share a sun-soaked Norwich park with picnicking families.

Tea dances

In the surroundings of a Norfolk tea dance tent, they had the time of their lives.

The Dirty Dancing-themed hop was hosted in the velvet-roofed Adnams Spiegeltent in Chapelfield Gardens.

Dressed for the occasion with women in floral dresses and men in polished shoes, dancers showed off their jive, foxtrot and mambo at the Ragroof Tea Dances held over the weekend.

DJs played authentic tunes from the 1920s to 1950s and beyond at the event, which was supported by the Evening News, sister paper of the EDP.

The bar was open for an evening mood, with the central dance floor encircled by booths for people to enjoy tea and cake during the interval.

Jazz was the order of the day at the second tea dance, held yesterday, under the banner of The Great Gatsby.

Each dance meeting lasted for three hours – enough to earn that slice of cake.

Ice cream was in demand as the Norfolk and Norwich Festival (NNF) turned Chapelfield Gardens into a giant party over the weekend.

And the acrobatics and oddities on display entertained youngsters and adults alike.

Lis Jennings, one of the NNF team, said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic.

“It’s been pretty packed in the gardens since 11am and we’ll be well into the thousands of visitors by the end of the day.”

She said the robotic horse that was the star piece of Out and About with a Whinny and a Canter had proved popular with the crowds.

A rustic mass of metal, wires and batteries, the remote-controlled nag and its hissing hydraulics roamed around the gardens.

Bashed into life by a Gallic mechanic wielding all manner of tools, it waggled its pneumatic tail before a fire-breathing finale.

But the show by Paka Johnson was just one of many attractions, including The Lift by Wet Picnic - where audience members were invited to choose a floor and be whisked away.

Thies Dernedde, 9, of Lingwood, was at the Garden Party with his parents.

He said he was looking forward to trying out the Astronauts’ Caravan, which was a 1970s caravan with a literal twist - spinning guests upside down.

Gill Harley, of Aylsham, brought her family to the outdoor extravaganza.

“It’s been very good, especially for the children,” she said. “We had heard about it from friends and we had come for the music in the evenings before.

“But this is fantastic.”

The action was not limited to Chapelfield Gardens, with crowds squeezed onto the steps by the Forum to catch shows at Millennium Plain.

Starting with the sound of lapping waves, performers Acrojou began gently by sprinkling sand.

But the show - called Frantic - quickly lived up to its name, with elegant gymnastics around a circus wheel.

Unsuspecting audience members were drenched as the wheel began to spray water at the end of the show, much to the delight of children in the front row.

The show was commissioned in partnership with Great Yarmouth’s Seachange Arts among other performance companies.

A packed timetable of performances continues today and next week. For details see

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Show Job Lists