STAFF at a popular country park have hailed its biggest ever event a ‘huge success’.
Brandon Country Park celebrated its 40th anniversary on Saturday, opening its grounds to community groups, charities and local families.
“It was a huge success,” said park manager Wendy Baker, who was pleased not to have to implement bad weather plans and instead concentrated efforts on keeping its many sun-drenched volunteers well hydrated.
From morris dancing and mini-beast hunts to painting activities at an art exhibition in the park’s walled garden, there was family fun at every turn.
Even the nearby nursing home, which held a fete on the same day, opened its gates to enable visitors to move freely between the two grounds.
“It’s the biggest event that we’ve ever done and we’re thinking now of how we can perhaps tailor it to become an annual event,” said Miss Baker, who saw visitor figures triple to 1,000 on the day.
Children were able to explore an array of emergency service vehicles and, in the afternoon, Breckland Brass Band pleased park-goers by playing Happy Birthday in recognition of the park’s milestone anniversary.
Highlights for many families included the wildlife area and visit by creatures from the Suffolk Amphibian and Reptile Group, while a treasure hunt with clues that led youngsters around the park proved popular with staff and families alike.
The hunt involved the discovery of characters from the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, with children asked to shout a password to release Alice in Wonderland from a magical spell, before sitting down to enjoy a tea party themselves.
As well as stands on the main lawn, there were areas around the park for a variety of groups to exhibit, including the Royal British legion, Friends of Thetford Forest, RSPB, Mencap, St John Ambulance and PAWS Animal Rescue.
Miss Baker said the popularity of the event had helped to raise the profile of the park as a family site.
“I’ve been getting some really good feedback on how much people enjoyed it,” she added.