Last weekend, the lovely Marketing Team from the Lincolnshire Showground kindly invited us to visit Countryside Lincs - a day aimed at teaching children about food, farming and the countryside.
Needless to say, I didn't need asking twice. This kind of thing is right up my street!
We headed off to the Showground on a cold, rainy Sunday, praying that the howling wind and drizzle would ease off or that there would be plenty of indoor activities. Unfortunately, the weather was not kind so we headed straight for the indoor Food Zone to see some of the demonstrations. There was bread making, soup making, cheese making, sausage making and ice cream making on offer and the children seemed entranced. Unfortunately there wasn't any food to actually eat, so we set off again in search of lunch.
We found ourselves in the Farmyard Zone and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce Forrest to the animals. There was a donkey and her foal, some sheep, cattle, heavy horses and best of all, a lovely chap from the British Goat Society who let us meet his gorgeous baby goats! Just a couple of weeks old, they were so sweet and wonderfully friendly, even jumping up to lick his fingers as he chatted to us. Forrest gave them a good frown and refused to touch them but I was in my element! They were so soft and they all looked like they were smiling!
Next door were the Explore It Zone and Make It Zone, which had crafting and activities for all ages. There were exhibitors ranging from the Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service to the National Farmers Union and Lincolnshire Young Farmers and the activities ranged from planting seeds and learning to milk a cow to 'excavating' a skeleton in the Explore It Zone. In the Make It Zone children could try their hands at rag rug making, insect modelling and making a bug house. All of the crafts were free for the children to keep - I saw several parents trying to find someone to pay and being pleasantly surprised.
The outdoor activities included a parade of hounds, gundog demonstration and birds of prey flying demonstration as well as archery, tractor rides and displays of farriery, shooting and fly fishing.
The whole event was built around children and was done really well. All the children I saw seemed to be really enjoying themselves and there was a wide range of activities and things for them to see and do. There were child safety wristbands available at the entrance and plenty of hand washing stations dotted around the animal areas.
This was the first event of its kind and I really hope that it's repeated next year as it's such a fantastic idea. The only things that let the day down were the weather - which we should all be used to - and if I'm honest, the catering could have been better. This could have been our mistake though as I saw many families settled down with their own picnics in the barn. We'd been expecting lots of lovely local produce to choose from for lunch but were limited to a single snack van, which was a bit disappointing.
The best thing about the day was seeing so many children bundled into padded, waterproof suits and allowed to just run about and have a good time, despite the rain. I know I'd have loved it as a child and when Forrest is old enough to really take part it will be the kind of family day out that's perfect for us. The exhibitors were all really keen to get the children involved and their enthusiasm was infectious.
Did any of you go to Countryside Lincs? Does it sound like the kind of thing you'd have enjoyed as a child?