'It feels like normality': families enjoy Brentwood's Weald Park Country Show

Jessica Cooper

Five-year-old Jessica Cooper dressed up as superwoman for the dog show - Credit: Sally Patterson

A Brentwood country fair saw hundreds of stall holders, families and dogs revel in the patchy British sunshine this weekend. 

Weald Park country show sign

The Weald Park Country Show stretched across two fields - Credit: Sally Patterson

On Saturday, May 22, the annual Weald Park Country Show kicked off what organisers hope will be a summer of fun across the UK. 

Cody Tyrell had a great time on the teacups ride

Cody Tyrell, 2, had a great time on the teacups ride - Credit: Sally Patterson

Annabel Edmundson, who runs Quintessentially British Events with her parents, was thrilled to be hosting the company’s first event since coronavirus restrictions began last year. 

Zulu Dancers performing African dancing

Zulu Dancers impressed onlookers with their dancing - Credit: Sally Patterson

She said: “It’s gone really well, we’re pleasantly surprised. 

“The weather stuck out, everyone social distanced- it went really well.” 

Annabel Edmundson

Organiser Annabel Edmundson was relieved the fairs were running again after a quiet year - Credit: Sally Patterson

Sprawled across two large fields, the country fair hosted food stalls, cooking displays and vendors selling home-made crafts. 

Many stall holders had not been selling their goods since lockdown began, and were delighted to be back out. 

Willow weaver Bob Lever

Willow weaver Bob Lever - Credit: Sally Patterson

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“In fact, the last fair I did before Covid was this one in 2019,” willow-weaver Bob Lever explained.  

“It’s weird being back here again, but it's great."

Bob Lever's designs

Bob Lever's willow designs - Credit: Sally Patterson

At the next stall, wood-carver Jon Warwicker happily whittled Harry Potter wands to sell at the fair. 

Jon Warwicker

Whittler Jon Warwicker enoyed the country fair - Credit: Sally Patterson

The former teacher said: “I saw someone making them badly, and was so fed up with it I thought ‘I could do better than that,’ so the year after children were all running around with my wands instead.” 

Jon Warwicker's work

Jon Warwicker's bowls and wooden vases - Credit: Sally Patterson

Vender Jay Hector added: “It’s brilliant to be back, because when I was stuck at home my creative side took a back seat, and there's such a buzz when everyone’s around you."

Artist Jay Hector from Chelmsford

Artist Jay Hector from Chelmsford - Credit: Sally Patterson

The two-day event also included a variety of entertainment such as the Zulu Dancers performances, an Abba tribute and wrestling displays.

ABBA tribute band

People danced to hits from the ABBA tribute band - Credit: Sally Patterson

Some members from the scantily-dressed WrestleForce club had even travelled back from university to take part in the fair because they had missed it so much over the past year. 

Wrestle Force

WrestleForce members showed off their skills to the crowd - Credit: Sally Patterson

Dressed as pirates, Ian Britten-Hull and Annie Olbici - The Buccaneers - delighted fair-goers with their sword fights. 

The Buccaneers Annie Olbici and Ian Britten-Hull

The Buccaneers Annie Olbici and Ian Britten-Hull - Credit: Sally Patterson

Watching the Festival of Dogs, which raised £3,800 for charity in 2019, Jane Duffield said: “It makes a nice change to just do something which feels normal.” 

Showing off dog Bella’s rosettes, proud owner Scott Jewitt added: “It’s so nice to be out, it feels like a bit of normality, which is welcome.” 

Scott Jewitt and Bella

Scott Jewitt and Bella - Credit: Sally Patterson

Charlotte Cooper and her three children - seven-year-old Joshua; Jessica, five; and 18-month-old Elliarna - were also proud of dog Pearl’s prizes in the show. 

Joshua, Jessica and Elliarna Cooper

Siblings Joshua, Jessica and Elliarna Cooper had a great time at the fair - Credit: Sally Patterson

“It’s been really brilliant, we’ve had an amazing day. 

“Jessica won the fancy-dress dog show, and Joshua came second in the six-legs competition, and the little one has won a barbie so she’s thrilled.” 

Petting zoo owner Gemma Culling and son Mason were pleased to see children interacting with animals again, and using their senses to learn about nature. 

Gemma Culling

Gemma Culling travels across the UK with her mobile petting zoo - Credit: Sally Patterson

Gemma said: “It’s been fab, the people of Brentwood have been amazing. 

“Lots of happy faces, getting the kids involved in feeding the sheep, it’s been really good.” 

children in sheep show

Brave children joined the sheep show - Credit: Sally Patterson

As she introduced her baby brother Alfie to the pets, 12-year-old Reaell Goddard, giggled at his surprised face. 

“It’s his first time doing anything like this, and he’s amazed by it all,” she said.

Baby and sheep

Alfie met his first sheep with sister Reaell - Credit: Sally Patterson

Gemma’s Farm also invited children to feed the sheep, and lead the animals around the field as their parents snapped photographs. 

A nearby reptile exhibition showcased snakes, lizards and tortoises alongside information about the animals. 

Tortoises roamed the reptile stall 

Tortoises roamed the reptile stall - Credit: Sally Patterson

Crowds gathered to watch circus aerial displays, magic and puppet shows. 

“It’s been lovely to get out and not have to wear a mask, and to be in the company of other people again and see the children have fun," said Chloe Wakeham from Romford. "It’s been a joy.”

Brothers Cory and Cody Tyrell

Brothers Cory and Cody Tyrell from Romford were dressed for the weather - Credit: Sally Patterson

Working in the fried chicken stall, Charlie Rose said it had been a busy day but she was enjoying herself. 

“It’s gone really well, and we’ve been so lucky with the weather,” she said. 

Charlie Rose

Charlie Rose made sure fair-goers were well fed - Credit: Sally Patterson

Manning their stall displaying rifles, bullets and other war memorabilia, Matthew Plumridge, Peter Francis-Wemyss and Linden Chance spent the day speaking to excited children. 

The British Rifle Volunteers, who hadn’t seen each other for over a year, stressed the importance of keeping history alive outside of the classroom. 

British Rifle volunteers Matthew Plumridge (l), Peter Francis-Wemyss and Linden Chance (r)

British Rifle Volunteers Matthew Plumridge (l), Peter Francis-Wemyss and Linden Chance (r) - Credit: Sally Patterson

“It’s great to be back together, even if it’s not all of us because of social distancing”, Linden said. 

Linden Chance practicing his rifle technique

Linden Chance practicing his rifle technique - Credit: Sally Patterson