On Sunday 11th October, the East of England Showground in Peterborough held its annual Autumn Food & Country Fair. Previously known as the Autumn Show, this great day out has been running for roughly 38 years and after visiting the event for the first time I can see why! It was my first time at the fair and I was shocked at how huge it was. When we thought we’d been round everything there was to see, we’d find another area to explore. The fair is a fantastic day out for all the family, with plenty to do and with around 10,000 people attending I think it’s fair to say its rather popular so I thought I’d share it with you!
If you have little ones in the family, there was the opportunity for them to meet their favourite TV characters such as Paddington Bear and Bob the Builder. Meanwhile in the barns there were plenty of animals from pigs to pigeons to pet and ogle at. I particularly loved the ducks and funky chickens!
Around the fair there was plenty to view and take part in. I particularly enjoyed entering Harry into the Companion Dog Show with categories from the most handsome dog, to the waggiest tail! In case you’re not aware, we rescued Harry whilst living in Cyprus so he had quite a story to tell and ended up winning the Best Rescue category and coming sixth in the Dog the judge would most like to take home category! Such a proud doggy mummy moment for me and he trotted around wearing his rosettes for the rest of the fair.
Over the far side of the fair were the dog agility competitions which were wonderful to watch. Most dogs were very disciplined, sprinting around the course and showing off how well trained they were whereas a couple were a bit mischievous, running off the course altogether and one even doing their “business” part way through which I couldn’t help but find hilarious!
From fluffy friends onto cooking, Paul Hollywood was the celebrity guest chef in the brand new cookery theatre of the fair. After all the excitement that week of The Great British Bake-off final, I was very excited to watch cookery demonstrations from the artisan baker as well as hear some amusing stories from behind the scenes of Bake-off. Paul was so wonderful to watch and really interacted with the crowd, making the lesson a fun and enjoyable experience as well as educational. He gave us lots of tips and tricks when it comes to cooking and we even got to sample the freshly baked delights which were a Bakewell tart and flatbread. I came away feeling very inspired and I’m really keen to get back into baking at home! Some lucky people got to meet him at his book signing too which was a highlight for many.
The fair was both inside and out, with lots of food stalls indoors with things for you to try from cheese to chutney and live demonstrations showing you how to cut and cook different types of meat, filling the room with a heavenly smell of good cooking. I was particularly drawn to the pastry produce, in particular the handmade pies whilst Chris was eyeing up the local craft beers from Nene Valley Brewery.
It was really great to see so many local businesses showcasing their wares and I found myself very drawn to The Boot Room’s indoor stand, selling handmade boots! They were absolutely stunning and unfortunately my photographs don’t do them justice. All the boots are handmade in Spain, with a bespoke service being offered for made to measure boots ensuring a flawless fit. This is particularly perfect for those of us with wider calves and struggle to find long boots to fit so the service proved very popular. The boots are such good value too as many generic boots retail for the same if not more yet these are made far better than any you’ll find on the high street. I was very impressed!
Also inside was the giant vegetable competition. I couldn’t quite believe just how enormous and peculiar the vegetables were, with some easily feeding several families I’m sure! Many of the people taking part hold world records in growing large vegetables which were certainly something to be marvelled at.
With lots of stalls to be looked around, I could see lots of handmade beauties that would make for great presents, especially with Christmas coming up. I particularly adored the array of wicker hampers and these outdoor chicken ornaments. There were again lots of local sellers and plenty of things to shop for with anything from shoes, to hats, homemade beauty gifts to pet accessories.
For the men in our lives, there was plenty to entertain them too. Classic cars lined the field along with tractors and a big fire truck. The 3Sixty BMX display was also a great one for the guys with some excellent stunts being displayed outside.
All in all the fair was a brilliant way to spend a Sunday with plenty to see and keep the whole family entertained. With the weather being so kind to us I spent the whole day there and absolutely loved it yet I still didn't manage to get around everything so I'll certainly be returning next year!
Have you been to the Autumn Food and Country Fair?