Town and Country Festival 2003
by Eric Shadforth
The Town and Country Festival was held at Stoneleigh National Agricultural Centre over the bank holiday weekend at the end of August.
The National Ferret Welfare Society had a presence there within the Pets Galore area, along with birds, rabbits, cats, rats, reptiles, and tortoises. The stand was manned by Sheila Crompton, of Bolton Ferret Welfare, and a small team of helpers. However, the stars of the three days were, of course, the ferrets. They all took turns to be handled, stroked and cooed over, and not one of them decided to live up to the “bad press” reputation.
Saturday was by far the quietest day although the stand was kept busy with the public asking the usual questions, such as: Does it bite? Do they smell? The helpers lost count of the number of times these questions were asked.
It was encouraging to note that the reception received was much more positive than previous years. People were actually requesting to stroke the ferrets and were much more attentive to the antics going on in the play pen. New for this year was “Have your photograph taken with a ferret”, which proved to be very popular. A digital camera and computer eliminated the need to wait for the photographs to be developed.
The ferrets, besides being Ooooohed at and cooed over, managed to cadge titbits off the unsuspecting visitors. One man was enjoying an ice cream until Jester saw it and decided he would just fancy some of that. The result is as shown in the photograph.
All in all the show was a very good vehicle for letting the public see and handle ferrets, ask questions, get answers, and hopefully help them decide on becoming a keeper themselves.
For the helpers, it was three very busy, very tiring days but very enjoyable.
Eric grabs a quick nap at the end of a very busy day