The festival itself was great. A lovely chilled atmosphere with lots of families and people of all ages enjoying a day out. On entry we encountered this guy, the horse from War Horse, the theatre show. He was amazing. He looked and moved in such a horse-like manner. It was fantastic to watch.
They even made him rear as we all shouted whoah boy!
We wandered past the stalls of crafts, food and art until we happened upon the main music stage where we promptly plonked ourselves down for a while to listen to some Latin music, which being a lover of Zumba I relished of course. OH and Little Bird weren't so fussed I might add, but it was good to see lots of people really enjoying the music and dancing to the rythyms.
From there we passed the giant Stonehenge bouncy castle designed by Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller.
Unfortunately the queues were very long, and remained so every time we went near, so we didn't partake sadly, but it looked like fun. I'm hoping we might get another chance to go on this sometime somewhere abouts.
Whilst OH headed to the beer bar, and then went to watch the athletics taking place on the big screen, Little Bird and I went for a wander, used the toilets with no queues!
and headed into some of the side attractions. She was particularly attracted to the Crafternoon Tea Tent, where there were alternative Life Drawing classes going on, and she stayed to join in and did a couple of lovely drawings. Here was the subject dressed as a Kingfisher
and here was LB's drawing.
Sweet. It was a great, well thought out attraction with a DJ too, playing a song about a little bird. Really apt in LB's case.
We found ourselves some drinks, I had a bottle of Spanish Cider and LB had a can of fizz for a treat.
By now we were feeling pretty hungry and so we all headed back to the food stalls where there were some pretty long queues. As LB wanted a beef burger we all decided to have one, to save queuing several times over in different places. It wasn't a bad choice as it was a gourmet burger bar, the burgers were very tasty and only cost £4.50 which was pretty reasonable we thought. It came with tomato relish (or ketchup), salad and pickled gherkins that tasted minty and were gorgeous.
We took them over to the grassy banks in the shadow of the Aquatic Centre to eat, and enjoyed watching children rolling down the banks again and again, just having great fun.
After eating we moved on to explore some more of the park. There was a fantastic new children's play area. I forgot to take photos I'm afraid. It even had a rolling log which I was amazed at, as I would have thought it might have been banned by now in case a child fell off and hurt themselves. Next to the play area was a fabulous café which has some great activities going on throughout the holidays such as Zumba for kids, drama and dance workshops, Zumba for Adults, Yoga classes, Free Samba drumming classes, Free Enterprise or Business Start Up workshops, Free knitting groups and more. I might even consider going along to a Business Start Up Workshop or a knitting group meeting at some point. I'd like to learn how to knit better and I might pick up some useful business tips and advice. I'm hoping activities like these will extend into term times so I can attend, although I could potentially let LB play in the park next door with a friend whilst I did a workshop, if it wasn't too long.
We passed another music stage with a beer festival tent, but didn't really have time to stop by as OH was suffering with his injured knee and we needed to get back to the dog. We had a last stop by the main music stage on the way out to listen to some great African music and then headed home just as the heavens opened and it started to rain. Lucky for us, as we had no rainwear or wellies with us. (Spellchecker just changed wellies to something else! - How rude.) We were a bit wet by the time we cycled home and the dog had to wait for a walk until the rain stopped two hours later!
To be honest, we only scratched the surface in the 4-5 hours we were there and could have done and seen much, much more had we had a timetable of events and moved ourselves seamlessly from one thing to another. Sadly, we weren't that organised and just ambled around. At £9.50 for an adult ticket and £6 for a child, it would even be worth going back tomorrow, but we have some other things we need to do. I'm hoping this is the first of many similar events to come, that hopefully won't have a ridiculous and socially exclusive price tag as it was a truly great day out.