What a fantastic Country Fest 2014!
A celebration of food, countryside and record breaking firsts were on the menu at this year’s Country Fest. Blessed with good weather, more than 14,000 people flocked to the County Showground to enjoy the feast for all senses, with varied entertainment and activities on offer, where visitors were treated to jazz bands cookery demonstrations, agricultural displays and stalls filled with information and tasty treats.
From clothing to pet supplies, garden plants to eco boilers, military vehicles to strawberries and cream, the Showground was positively full of a wide range of exhibits. Now in its sixth year, the Food Zone presented a huge array of deliciously tempting tasters provided by local producers whilst a packed craft and lifestyle marquee ensured lots of choice. Returning by popular demand, the Vintage Revival marquee was a must for every visitor, with stunning displays, great theming and a magnificent old-fashioned tea room which had everyone drooling over the cakes and pastries on offer.
A highlight was the record-breaking purple teddy bear Oscar made by locally based Craig Harby of Smile Factor10. Measuring an incredible 19.2m (63’) Oscar was recorded as being the world’s largest teddy bear. Stunning kite flying displays, by Smile Factor10, could be seen from far afield with the skies above the Showground filled with colour as kites of all shapes and sizes delighted the crowds. Meanwhile Josh Mitcheson, at just 16 years old and current European champion, and Graham Lockwood wowed the crowds with stunt kite flying demonstrations in the arena and children reveled in taking their teddies parachuting!
A top-drawer line-up ensured the Food Theatre was extremely popular with demonstrations from Britain’s Best Bakery judge Peter Sidwell, Cumbria Chef of the Year Kevin Tickle of Rogan & Co, alongside Aidan Monks of Lovingly Artisan and Bruno Birkbeck of The Highwayman. Visitors overwhelmingly chose David Knipe of Heartwood Poultry’s free range chicken over supermarket offerings whilst Marianne Woodend of The Bakery at No 4 wowed with her baking skills.
The Why Farming Matters marquee was a hive of activity throughout the weekend with excellent displays and livestock taking visitors on a journey from farm to plate. Alongside the real animals, the Society’s Jig-Cow, Jig-Pig and Jig-Sheep certainly provided food for thought! Very much family focused, there was also plenty of activities for children with jugglers, face painting, donkey rides, traditional fair and a chance to meet the animals at Pets Corner.
The packed main ring programme also included motor stunts by Jez Avery, falconry, carriage driving by Robert Dixon, falconry, motor cycle displays, Lakeland Historic Car Club and the ever popular terrier racing.
With so much to see and do Country Fest really was an event for the whole family – hope to see you next year.