Youngsters out in force at the Royal Norfolk

As a teenager I found myself excited in the weeks leading up to one of the UK’s biggest agricultural events – the Royal Norfolk Show.

It had loads to offer young people and this year the organisers introduced a new area specifically aimed at us. The (Young Folk Of Norfolk) area had live music displays, DJs and even mixing and beat-boxing booths, giving the audience a chance to show off their own skills on the stage.

The show also helped get people into the Olympic spirit with a unique 2012 Games Event in the grand ring; these events included dance performances, a tug-of-war and a parade of more than 200 Olympic flags. One of the dancers in the ring, aged 14, said it was a great experience.

“I really enjoyed dancing in front of so many people. Me and my friends have worked so hard for this and it’s great we got the chance. I have been coming here for three years and this is the first time I have performed. The show is special as it’s always different and enjoyable for the whole family. For me the highlights were the food hall and the rides.”

Show manager Sarah de Chair said it was really pleasing to see so many people get involved and showcase their talent in the games event. When asked what the show offers young people generally, she replied: “It offers people of all ages something they can enjoy and learn from. This year we had The University Of East Anglia here, helping young people, as well as Active Norfolk and Norwich City FC giving young people the chance to get involved.”

On both mornings of the show the weather stayed rain-free, which was great news for the world-famous RAF Falcons free-fall parachute display team, who could go ahead with one of the grand ring highlights. Mark, 16, said: “The display was excellent – the way they turn and change direction in mid-air, plus the fact they can land on such a small target”. Hayley, 17, added: “They looked very cool and so calm.”

Matt Lyon, 15, from Dereham told me how much the show helps people like him get into the industry.

“I have been attending the show now for about three years with my family and friends and have always enjoyed it. Next year when I leave school, I am unsure about what I need to do to enter a career in agriculture; however people on stands are very talkative and keen to help.

“A friend of mine managed to get an apprenticeship here two years ago just from turning up and talking to people. The show is so important from that aspect and can really kickstart your career,” added Matt. “The highlights for me are always the livestock and the grand ring as they are really exciting and give people a chance to show off their talent.”

The show is home to over 650 stands and one that stood out for me was the machinery dealer, Ben Burgess. The stand had unlocked tractors, plus mini-tractors to keep little ones amused, and there were always people on hand to talk to.

Marketing director Ben Turner said: “We are involved with the show as a whole as well as being a retailer and this year we helped put together a family trail. It gave children the chance to ask questions and get involved so they learned from the experience, instead of just reading a sign. We want to show off all the different aspects of our business and really get children involved.”

Area sales manager Steward Edge added: “The children of today are the customers of the future and we want to encourage them into seeing the products. That’s why we have the cabs open unlike many stands here and that is why we don’t just have rows and rows of mowers and tractors.”

I found the Norfolk Show lively, exciting and an event that can be enjoyed by everyone – especially those under 25. I’m already looking forward to next year.

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