Record numbers at Tendring Show

SHADE was at a premium and drinks and ice-cream sellers under siege as the sun beat down on the 2003 Tendring Show.The fabulous weather saw thousands flock to Saturday's event at Lawford Park, near Manningtree, to view a host of new attractions as well as many old favourites.

SHADE was at a premium and drinks and ice-cream sellers under siege as the sun beat down on the 2003 Tendring Show.

The fabulous weather saw thousands flock to Saturday's event at Lawford Park, near Manningtree, to view a host of new attractions as well as many old favourites.

Even before it began, the show was on course to be a record breaker, with all the trade stand space sold weeks in advance. And on the day, 24,000 visitors poured through the gates, breaking last year's record attendance of 22,500.

Show secretary Romany Foster said: "It's been very hot and very busy. It just always amazes me how many people want to come to a little country show, although nowadays it's no longer little really.


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"I think everything's been popular today from the activities in the ring to the stalls and speciality tents. Views change about what people want to see but clearly this show is still a popular choice and it is good to show everybody some country colour."

Although the organisers pride themselves on cramming in a host of activities while maintaining a spacious feeling, the huge popularity of the event meant there was some congestion in certain parts of the showground.

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"Our problem has always been the location," explained Ms Foster, "which means that people have to be patient as the volume of people and traffic invariably means you are going to have to queue but there is no magic wand."

This year's theme was diversification - the only route many farmers today have to survive - and the www.farmfuture.co.uk area featured examples of how farmers and rural businesses had diversified their businesses and incomes away from agriculture.

Theme chairman Mandy Rix said: "Quite a percentage here have found the diversification part of their business has been so successful that it has totally replaced their farming operation, which has subsequently been put out to contract.

"In many cases, the participating farms have stated that not only has diversification enriched their lives financially but their total lives are now vastly more interesting and challenging."

Livestock was a big feature of this year's show - this year saw the return of all classes - and visitors could see a host of farm animals as well as rats, pigeons, rabbits and poultry. Equine fans were also treated to plenty of entertainment in the form of showing and show jumping.

But the show was not just about livestock and farming. Once again, a highly popular part was the robot area, featuring robots from TV's Robot Wars, as well as the art tent, which was busy all day and saw a number of works sold by local artists.

More than 40 exhibitors joined the Celebration of Education, which covered a range of services from nursery through to primary and secondary schools and on to adult education.

A varied programme of live performances entertained the crowds throughout the day from Manningtree High School's jazz band, country dancing from the Kings Ford Nursery and Infant School in Colchester, music from the Tendring Music School and dancing from the Debbie Millar School of Dance.

There were also displays by the ASDAN drama group from the Kingswode Hoe School in Colchester, in collaboration with pupils from Colchester County High School.

Meanwhile, in the main educational focus area, the spotlight was on Essex Libraries, whose display was based around a desert island theme, with treasure hunts, face-painting and storytelling.

Other events at the show included the community exhibition, which this year featured Wivenhoe, floral displays, dog show, vintage motors, crafts and speciality foods.

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