Photo gallery: Norfolk Showground’s Spring Fling a success

A visitor to the Spring Fling meets Jasmine the Jersey cow. Photograph Simon Parker

A visitor to the Spring Fling meets Jasmine the Jersey cow. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

A sunshine sell-out EDP Spring Fling was a spectacular success as thousands of young visitors flocked to the Norfolk showground.

As the bitterly cold wind turned to warm sunshine yesterday, the area of grass by the Norfolk showground arena was turned into an open air picnic table as Spring Flingers tucked into a hog roast lunch.

The food theme, 'spring greens,' was a hit as youngsters sampled a range of vegetables including red, white and green cabbages. Tomatoes grown on part of British Sugar's beet sugar factory site at Wissington, near Downham Market, also attracted keen demand.

Robert Farthing, growing manager at Cornerways, which has about 47 acres of glass for tomato production, brought about 75kg of freshly-picked fruit for visitors to sample.

Although they had only started picking about a fortnight ago, he wished that he had brought even more tomatoes because there was such demand.

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The surprise success was also the opportunity to taste varieties of cabbage. Frances Mobbs, who led a team of volunteers from the Norfolk Women's Institutes, was serving stir-fried spring green cabbage with sesame seed. 'We were amazed that our cabbage dish was such a hit. We were making it as fast as we could,' she said.

And the chance to take home a bag of Norfolk-grown seed potatoes was another hit as staff from B & C Farming, of Marsham, and Greenvale AP gave away about 2,000 bags. Angela Gore, of B & C Farming, which donated the Maris Peer seed potatoes, said that they had been kept busy packing about 8,000 potatoes in the give-away bags.

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On an adjoining stand, retired Harleston butcher Terry Beales and colleague James Smith turned 220lb of Jimmy Butler's Blythburgh Free-Range Pork into about 1,760 sausages, which were then cooked by five members of Norfolk's Ladies in Pigs.

And the hog roast lunch and Aspall's apple juice was served without a hitch as more than 5,000 visitors were fed in less than two hours by Mid-Norfolk pig farmers Richard and Debbie Lilwall's team of helpers.

The staff on the seven serving stations even started a quarter of an hour earlier than previous years as hungry 'flingers' started queuing but the new layout worked perfectly.

One of the organising committee, Julian Taylor, who is show director of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, said that it was abundantly obvious that visitors were enjoying every minute of the 14th annual event.

And the tractor and trailer rides were again hugely popular, he said.

Farm manager's wife Claire Dixon, of Kirby Bedon, near Norwich, said that her sons, Oliver, six, and Samuel, three, also wanted to go on a tractor and trailer ride.

Almost as soon as the gates opened at 9.30am, the 16-strong squad of volunteer drivers and stewards was kept busy taking visitors on rides around the showground.

By the close, about 4,000 people had enjoyed a trip.

With around 70 hands-on displays and demonstrations, there was also a busy programme of countryside events. The dog agility and displays of working dogs, including sheepdogs, were popular and attracted plenty of spectators.

And the chance to race a dog in the agility competition was another draw.

A display of tractors by the Starting Handle Club was another popular activity for youngsters. First-time visitor Sara Hickling, of Pentney, near Swaffham, took her three children, Lily, four, Jamie, eight, and Archie, nine, who climbed aboard a vintage tractor.

Inside, a chance to paint a windmill or tractor painting with cereal seeds was enjoyed by Hannah and Laura Dickinson-Rogers, of College Road, Norwich, who were taken to the event by grandparents, Maureen and Leslie Dickinson, of Taverham.

More pictures in the EDP in Saturday's Farm & Country.

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