I had the Bank Holiday weekend all planned with us visiting the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival on Saturday, Dorset Knob Throwing Festival on the Sunday and Blandford Food Festival on Monday as we thoroughly enjoyed this weekends events last year, however, it came to my attention that the Georgian Fayre wasn’t running at Blandford as it was last year so there would be nothing to entertain the kids so I decided to look for something else to do.
I have to admit with the plethora of days out websites out there I really struggled to find anything online that was based in either Dorset or Hampshire but after an hour of typing in every search term I could think of I finally stumbled across the New Forest Spring Fair in Brockenhurst which promised a full programme of events including Heavy Horses, Ferret Racing, Dog Displays…….and lots more and all for just £5 – the kids were free.
We found New Park easily and the kids delighted in bouncing down the bumpy track to the car park, eager to explore somewhere new and exciting. The first thing they spotted were chickens in their coups which were for sale and Isaac was badgering me to buy one, thankfully my distraction techniques succeeded and I got away with getting their faces painted instead.
Their were two arena’s each hosting different events, but most of them were repeated throughout the day so if something you wanted to see clashed, you would get the chance to see them again later in the day. First on our list was the Heavy Horse display where we got to meet Beto the Suffolk foal.
In the Heavy Horse display ring they also has plaiting and harnessing demonstrations, a dog show for all the visiting dogs and a pageant, but the kids had spotted the Horse and Cart that were giving people rides around the adjacent field. I was really impressed that the cost of this was just £1 with Sebby free and we had a good 10 minute ride along with their adorable dog Bea.
Looking at our timetable we still had a bit of time to kill before the Solent Dog Display Team so we had a look at all the trade stands, stopping to admire the most beautiful wooden handmade bed, drooling over all the food stalls and finally buying some locally made fudge before being persuaded on to the roundabout by the kids.
We made it to the main arena to see the Solent Dog Display team just in time and watched in awe as pet dogs performed lots of jumping, retrieving and racing with their owners.
Next up was the Sheep Show which the brochure promised to be spectacular. We sat down unsure of what to expect but the cleverly devised show was entertaining, fun and informative and we watched a sheep get sheared before seeing the sheep dance – yes, they really did dance!!
Next door to the Sheep Show was the Ferret racing and the kids got to meet and stroke the surprisingly soft Ferrets before watching them have a race. You could make a bet but we chose to just pick a colour and cheer for the ferret we wanted to win as they weaved their way through an obstacle course.
We actually expected it to be over rather quickly, but I think the ferrets had far too many cuddles before hand as they all wandered slowly through the course with some even turning back on themselves. Finally three emerged from the end and it was neck and neck as to who would win, but finally the green one came out first.
Once the race had finally finished we caught the end of a Gun Dog demonstration which showed a dog being trained to ring a bell before sitting down to watch the Dog and Duck Show which was hosted by Stuart Barnes who had done the Sheep Show earlier.
The show needed audience participation and Isaac and Eliza were keen to join in, so we popped them into the arena where they were put into position before the sheep dogs showed off their skills but herding some ducks around the course. It was brilliant fun to watch and the kids did a great job of standing still.
We stayed to watch one final display – the Vintage Car and Tractor Parade before heading back home as the weather was starting to turn and it was getting chilly.
It was the first year of the New Forest Spring Fair and I hope it returns next year as it was a fun, informative and inexpensive event that we all enjoyed.