Thousands flock to Suffolk Show

WELLIES and riding boots, sandals and stilettos, horses' hooves and pigs' trotters have all been pacing around the Suffolk Show.But it is likely that all feet, animal and human, will be deserving a rest after the first day of the major event.

WELLIES and riding boots, sandals and stilettos, horses' hooves and pigs' trotters have all been pacing around the Suffolk Show.

But it is likely that all feet, animal and human, will be deserving a rest after the first day of the major event.

The avenues were bulging and the footpaths were heaving with people almost as soon as the gates were opened to the showground, in Ipswich, yesterday .

While some people opted for their functional agricultural wear others got into the spirit of summer with dresses and hats despite the dull weather and the occasional spots of rain calling for an umbrella.

The theme of this year's show was Made in Suffolk but a display of Zulu warriors and a steel band brought an international twist to the event, as well as the appearance of the Rugby World Cup.

Young and old gathered round the England Rugby Football Union stand to see up close – if not touch – the embellished gold-plated cup the nation's rugby heroes proudly lifted in 2003.

Most Read

Chris Daynes, 26, from Ipswich, said: "It's amazing. Imagine all the people that have touched that trophy.

"It's bringing back memories of Jonny Wilkinson's face that day."

Alan Brown, community rugby coach for Suffolk, said: "We've had quite a lot of interest as we've got the World Cup here and the games for the children, who are thoroughly enjoying it. The idea is to raise awareness of us in the Suffolk area and awareness of rugby – without the children, the game dies."

Visitors could also tickle their taste buds and try some unusual and traditional food on offer in the revamped Food Hall, which was boasting nearly double the number of exhibitors this year.

Pie stands, chocolate fountains and seed shops were all on show but one of the busiest stalls was the Essex Pig Company.

There was a stream of customers wanting to take home some of the company's famous sausages as well as a crowd of fans who were eager to have a chat with Jimmy Doherty, owner of the business and star of the hit BBC show Jimmy's Farm.

He said: "We try and bring some of the shop here. There's a big emphasis on education with the traditional sheep shearing and everything but there's also the up-to-date bit like Robot Wars.

"It's got a lovely feel about it; a wonderful vibe. It's really nice to see the customers that came to the shop before the programme came out.

"The show means a lot to us as it's our local show. The food hall is much bigger and it's wonderful.

"People can connect farming and food here, especially young people. They can see the pigs over there and then come in here and buy their dry-cure bacon.

"There's producers from the local area and others from all over the country. The best thing about it is that everyone can swap ideas, which is similar to how the markets are run in Europe."

Outside of the Food Hall, local produce was being cooked into nutritious meals as celebrity chef Rachel Green got to work in the Farminanglia demonstration area.

She said: "This really is to encourage people to buy locally from local food producers. I am from a farming background. Not only am I a chef but I also use local products and support local agriculture through my business.

"I want to encourage people to use good local food and eat with the seasons. Suffolk should realise there is a wonderful heritage here and food is a big part of that."

There are more than 800 stands at the show and rural craft businesses had booked their places, with traders ranging from an apothecary to a cartoonist.

Art lovers took refuge from the crowds in a dedicated exhibition marquee while budding horticulturists visited the flower show.

Priory Plants, from Hintlesham, had a display for the first time at the Suffolk Show and won a silver medal.

Sue Mann, partner in the business and horticulturist, said: "The stress levels go up a bit as you want to get it right, especially when it's your first. But I'm sure we will look back and we will have enjoyed it."

Jane and Peter Knight, from Brandeston, and their children Heather, two, who had her face painted as a lion, and Sarah, six months, took advantage of the numerous activities on offer for families.

Mrs Knight said: "It's been excellent and very good for children. There's a huge variety of things to do, which is great.

"They are really getting the facilities right for families these days. It's been a good day out – it gets better each year.

"The grand parade will be the highlight, the animals and the carriage driving. The Easton Farm Park stand was great. I can't drag them away from the animals."

Last year's show saw 90,000 people visit the event over two days. The new show director, Stephen Miles, said yesterday: "It's gone very well. It looks like the avenues are full of people and everybody is enjoying themselves. There's an awful lot for them to see."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter