A few weeks ago I was wasting time on Facebook, as you do, when I saw an advert for The Spring Fling. It immediately appealed to me as it involved tractors, the emergency services and animals, all of L’s favourite things. When I looked into it a bit further I saw the tickets were only £9.50 each and included lunch. I was sold.
This is the first year we have been to The Spring Fling so I didn’t really know what to expect, I had looked up what I could online and the website was great about telling you the opening times and useful information about attending, but a little lacking in the actual displays themselves.
It fell on a Tuesday which is adventure day in our house. L and I are both at home, with no work, nursery or pesky Daddy getting in the way, so we have adventures instead. We go to the beach, hop on trains, check out local museums or go for walks. The Spring Fling seemed like the perfect adventure, it was more of an adventure than I bargained for if I’m honest. It certainly tested me in ways I wasn’t expecting.
Let me start with the mud. It had been raining, a lot, not whilst we were there thankfully but pretty relentlessly up until the day. So the car park was a disaster. Several cars in front got stuck and were being pushed. I was fully aware that if my little car lost traction I was a goner, so with fingers crossed and wheels slipping we gingerly made our way into a space. It was a nail-biting moment but we made it and I pushed thoughts of leaving to the back of my mind. That wasn’t the worst of it though, within seconds of arriving L got mud on his hand and decided he hated the world. Brilliant.
Don’t you just love it when you pay to take your kid to something awesome and they decide they hate it?!
So after fruitlessly trying to get him to look at things I gave up and sat down, fed him a snack and had a drink. The break and food helped changed his mood so we started queuing.
We queued to sit on a combine harvester, queued to sit in a tractor, queued to got on a tractor ride, queued for lunch, queued even longer for a second tractor ride, made our way round various queues to see some animals and have a look at some of the stands that were about and queued again to get on another tractor. Then 5 1/2 hours after we arrived we left.
I’ll be honest I didn’t have the best time and unless L begs me, I won’t be returning. All that time queuing was not for me and whilst L was patient and well behaved, which considering his mood was a flipping miracle, the majority of kids were bored with the waiting and had turned feral. The parents, frustrated with the queues and feral children were mainly catatonic, for me it was not much fun.
The trouble with all the queues was kids got bored and so adults left one person holding their place and took the kids off to be amused elsewhere. I get this, I honestly do. But when you have waited patiently with your 4 year old for 20 minutes to sit on a flipping tractor and can see you are about third in line, for another 5 people to rock up in front of you and make you 5th or 6th in line is hard to explain, when this happens again and again it’s just awful.
What I do need to say is that L had fun. After he got over the mud incident and had some food he loved getting on all the tractors and seeing the animals. OK he had a complete meltdown over the free Easter egg he was given, I picked the wrong colour. And yeah he got stuck in a tractor, to scared to lean into my arms and I had to climb up and get him and maneuver back down whilst holding him. But literally those were the only moments he wasn’t having fun.
He stopped in one of the lines to tell me he loved me. He loved all the stickers. He had fun chatting to the people running each event. He liked watching the sheep show, even though he decided to wait so far away I doubt he saw anything. He loved getting an ice cream. The queues didn’t seem to bother him, even if the crowds did a little.
When he got home he couldn’t stop talking about all the fun things he did. He really did have a brilliant time and I guess that is what is important.
I spent an entire day out of the house with him and spent very little money. As I mentioned lunch was included within the ticket price. You could have a hog roast or vegetarian pasta (a cheese or a tomato one) and you got a very large cup of apple juice as well. So I didn’t have to pay for food or worry about carting a picnic around with me, I packed some raisins and a snack bar, plus an additional drink for us each but that was it. I bought L an ice cream for £2, donated £1 to the East Anglian Air Ambulance and then went back to them and bought L a model helicopter for £3. That was all I spent. £6. I think most parents will agree that is good going.
There was so much to see and do with so many activities arranged. There was a stamp course around the show, though that was quite poorly laid out and we only managed a few, they were not signed and again you had to queue for each stamp. There was also a digital treasure hunt which was pretty good, it gave you some focus and a direction in which to head.
L was hoping for a bit more from the Emergency Village.He wanted to see a fire engine and an ambulance and I think he rather hoped for the Air Ambulance to make an appearance, though I did explain why it couldn’t. The coastguard were there with one of theirs 4×4’s as were lowland rescue. The RNLI had an interesting stand and the Police had a car and an ATV to look at, as well as several activities, but they were very busy so L wasn’t interested.
There were several farm machines there, from small to big! A giant tractor bouncy castle and of course the tractor trailer ride, which we did twice and was very informative and a nice length.
There was the sheep show, sheep dog displays and gun dogs. Heavy horses and a lot of smaller animals to see. Then there were a lot of trade stands from the likes of Kettles Chips, Morrison’s and the RSPB plus many more. Each one offering an activity for the kids.
I think if had an older, or indeed a bolder, child they would get a lot more from it than we did. And whilst we didn’t have the best time I still think it was good value for money. L was just in a trying mood and that never helps. But as I said, he had a brilliant day when all was said and done. Personally, I just prefer Open Farm Sunday, it’s free and a bit smaller, as it’s all local farms.
Did anyone else go to The Spring Fling? What did you think? Was I just unlucky with the queues and L’s mood, I do worry that after two near tantrums and a lot of sulking my judgement of the day has been clouded!