8,000 day in the country: Slideshow.

EIGHT thousand people enjoyed all the fun of the fair as Sheffielders flocked to the city's very favourite countryside corner.

Sunday, 16th September 2007, 1:39 pm
Updated Monday, 17th September 2007, 12:19 pm

Whirlow Hall Farm staged its annual open event featuring attractions old and new on a sunny but blustery day.

Back this year after a break were fun runs for both children and grown-ups - featuring a course that was not for the fainthearted.

Around 40 children took part in the junior event, with 50 or so adults competing in the 10K main race which was seen off by former Olympic athlete Donna Hartley.

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"It was a very challenging race which went all round the ups and downs of the Whirlow area," said the farm trust's chief executive Bridget Evans.

"Probably the most difficult part was a steep path which had steps going up it - that sorted a lot of people out!"

New to the fair this year was a team of lumberjacks creating wooden sculptures with chainsaws, while elsewhere sheepdogs could be seen herding ducks along an obstacle course.

The winds caused problems for some stands, which had to be weighed down with straw bales.

But anyone wanting to seek a bit of shelter could chill out in a new marquee provided by St Paul's Hotels, where visitors could listen to a jazz band with a glass of wine.

Elsewhere a horse riding display on a new all-weather activity area attracted plenty of attention, as farm volunteers showed off their brand new facility.

The area was unveiled for the first time after being installed with the help of 50,000 won in the People's Millions phone poll appeal.

It means every child who comes to stay at the farm can now enjoy pony riding lessons.

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"We're so pleased with the new arena," said volunteer Nina Willison. "It is a really good addition to the farm and we thought it would be a great idea to show people how we plan to use it."

Also popular was an extended games arena, a classic car display, craft demonstrations and the ever successful farmers' market, which this year featured vegetables grown by children who have visited the farm.

"This is our main fund-raising event of the year and we will be hoping to match the 30,000 to 35,000 we raised last time," Bridget said.

"We've been delighted to welcome Gilders as our new main sponsor, and we've also had local artist Pete McKee here who auctioned off one of his paintings for our funds."

For the rest of the year Whirlow is a favourite destination for children from all over Sheffield who enjoy farm-based education activities, often with the chance to enjoy a residential stay.

To see more pictures of the show, click on the play icon above.