Crowds flock to Peterborough village for annual Open Farm & Vintage Weekend

Annual two-day rural and farming festival draws in thousands of visitors over the weekend

Huge crowds descended upon a small village near Peterborough over the weekend to enjoy one of our region’s most popular agricultural festivals.

The Open Farm & Vintage Weekend at Park Farm in Thorney welcomed thousands of visitors through its gates on Saturday and Sunday (June 8 and 9), eager to learn more about rural life and see the region’s rich farming heritage for themselves.

Now in it’s 17th year, Michael Sly’s much-loved annual event delivered in spades, showcasing the best of British farming practices and entertaining guests with numerous activities, exhibits and demonstrations related to agriculture and the countryside.

Along with endless photo opportunities to sit in combines and tractors of all shapes and sizes, and tour the estate aboard tractor-pulled safari carriages; crowds were entertained with sheep shearing, gun dog and falconry displays.

Wood carving, horse-shoeing and harvesting demonstrations were also on hand, plus there were opportunities to get up-close-and-personal with military tanks, fire engines and threshing machines.

The ever-popular farmers’ market saw a steady stream of shoppers on both days, while younger visitors took their chance to win prizes and try out food-making activities in the kids’ barn.

As always, the petting zoo/livestock area also attracted queues, with many people unable to resist the chance to cuddle one of the adorable baby chicks.

Park Farm’s owner Michael Sly strolled endlessly around the site throughout both days, chatting with visitors and keeping an ever-watchful eye on the weather.

"It has been much cooler this year,” he shared when the Peterborough Telegraph finally managed to corner him.

"But that’s good because it means we could get the shire horses out – it was too hot for them last year.”

Along with the return of Monty and Bolero, Michael was also pleased to see another old favourite return to the fold.

"The ‘Pick Your Own Spuds’ was back on again this year, too,” he added.

Another change this year was the introduction of the Community Barn, a brand-new large outbuilding which this weekend played host to local charity stalls.

Michael explained that this addition was part of an initiative to “stretch the site out a bit to improve queues.”

The NFU Sugar board chair said he was delighted by this year’s attendance figures, which showed 12,458 people had passed through the gates.

“That’s our second highest ever,” he said, adding “And we had the biggest Saturday since we’ve been doing it.”

It was though, the feedback from visitors, which Michael – awarded an MBE last year for services to agriculture – was most proud of.

"We’ve had so many positive comments,” he shared: “It’s been a very good weekend.”

Check out our gallery, with action captured by PT snapper David Lowndes and agricultural photographer Tim Scrivener, to see how the weekend went.

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