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One of the biggest events in the city calendar returns from today (13 June), when the East of England Show opens its gates for the 40th year.

One of the biggest events in the city calendar returns from today (13 June), when the East of England Show opens its gates for the 40th year.To mark four decades of shows, the organisers – the East of England Agricultural Society – have decided to embrace the event's farming ties with Farming Friday Friday, entry to which is absolutely free for the first time.

Thousands are expected to make their way to the East of England Showground, in Alwalton, Peterborough, for the first of a packed three days of events, displays and wonderful food.

Friday is the main livestock showing day, and entries are flooding in from the best of British livestock farmers and breeders. There will be a full programme of equestrian classes, which will continue throughout the weekend, including all breeds of horses, from Shetlands to Shires, and some great showjumping classes.

Update: In pictures: the East of England Show

GOOD weather ensured the East of England Show's 40th anniversary celebrations brought a huge smile to its many visitors. 16 June 2008


Saturday and Sunday will feature all of the family entertainment that the show has become famous for, including the Dancing Diggers (Diggerland JCB Stunt Team), the Royal ArtilleryMotorcycle Display Team and the Devil's Horsemen.

Also, on the Saturday and Sunday only, the Peterborough International Orchid Show returns for its second year at the show, and will be a delight for the senses with these delicate blooms coming from around the world. There will also be talks from orchid experts to help you grow your own.

This year's evening concerts will have visitors dancing the night away, with The Lounge Lizards on Friday and Boney M featuring Maizie Williams on Saturday.

Admission on Friday is free. Prices for Saturday and Sunday: Family (2 adults and two children) 28, adult 14, senior (65+) 11 and children (5-16 years) 6.50. Gates open from 8am to 6pm and car parking is free.

Food at the show

A SHOW with solid agricultural roots wouldn't be the same without a celebration of the results of farming – the food we eat.

Food has always been a big part of the show and this year is no exception, with demonstrations and the chance to buy the very best local food, directly from the farmers and producers.

Celebrity chefs James Tanner and Lesley Waters will be taking to the stage on Saturday and Sunday to cook live and pass on some of their tricks of the trade, offering the chance to learn from the professionals.

The two celebrity cooks will be showing off their skills in the new multi-million pound Peterborough Exhibition Hall – new for the show this year.

On Friday, which is free entry for the first time this year, the Food Hall stage will be home to the final of the Schools Food Challenge, the East of England Agricultural Society's competition for local secondary school pupils. The pupils have just 45 minutes to cook a two-course typical British meal for an overseas visitor.

The hall will be filled to the rafters with food to buy and try, including breads, cheeses, meats, jams, preserves and wines. Shoppers are becoming more aware about where their food comes from, and the show offers a rare chance for visitors to speak directly to the farmer or producer they are buying from.

There will also be plenty of cooked food to eat during the time that visitors are at the showground. All the food available at the catering facilities is sourced under the Food Direct From the Farm Scheme, which ensures that it has come from local farmers and suppliers.Entertainment at the show

GET set for some disco action when Boney M, featuring Maizie Williams, headline the entertainment Saturday.

The concert will be part of a full weekend of entertainment at the new Peterborough Exhibition Hall at the showground.

The indoor venue will ensure there will be no chance of the British weather spoiling the fun.

Tonight's entertainment will be from The Lounge Lizards, who will also be joined by barber shop and jazz bands, as well as '60s covers outfits and country and western.

Orchid show

FOLLOWING last year's success, the Peterborough International Orchid Show returns to the East of England Show for the 2008 event.

The show has attracted more than 70 exhibitors for this year's event, who will create a feast of colour from some of the finest orchids from across the globe.

Exhibitors include 28 international nurseries from as far afield as Brazil, Columbia, Japan and Taiwan; displays from 26 regional orchid societies and 13 specialist trade exhibitors selling orchid-growing stock and materials.

New this year will be rare and precious plants, a competition to Name Your Orchid, and a series of talks on growing and caring for orchids.

Manager of the Peterborough International Orchid Show Brian Woodward, said: "We are very excited to be returning to the East of England Show this year.

"We had an excellent show last year and hope this year will be even better. Orchids are becoming more and more popular and accessible, so we are delighted to be able to offer people advice from some of the best experts in the Orchid field."

Ticket prices are inclusive of admission to the East of England Show.

For more details visit www.eastofengland.org.uk/eoe_general_info.htm.