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TV chef a big draw at revamped show; DAY OUT: Organisers hope new Stoneleigh festival will tempt even more visitors.

Byline: By Michael Corley

ONE of the most popular family days out in Coventry and Warwickshire is to reappear transformed this bank holiday weekend.

Celebrity chef James Martin will be among a string of stars hoping to draw big crowds to the revamped Town and Country Festival - now in its first year as The Stoneleigh Park Country Festival.

There was shock last summer when bosses at the Royal Showground, near Stoneleigh, revealed they would be scrapping the original event, which attracted up to 80,000 people every year for 35 years.

Hoping to trump its traditional predecessor, the new show - staged over three days, from Saturday to Monday - promises to combine old favourites with new ones in an attempt to attract a new generation of visitors.

The main arena will play host to a number of TV personalities including James Martin, Katherine Kelly, who plays Coronation Street's mischievous barmaid Becky Grainger, and Bob The Builder.

In addition there will be demonstrations from monster truck drivers, The Flying Gunners motorcycle display team, a Battle of Britain memorial fly-past, and a classic vehicle pageant featuring more than 1,000 machines.

More traditional stalls and stages will include food and drink, healthy living, homes and gardens, farm animals, dog shows, a shopping village and a caravan rally.

An equestrian area will feature show jumping, dressage and driving.

Folk from Hatton Farm will also be giving festival-goers a chance to make friends with a number of their animals in the farm petting area.

The food fair will feature cookery demonstrations from TV chefs James Martin, Rachel Green, and Gallic gastronome Franck Pontais.

As well as a huge outdoor trade area and craft and gift fair, the show will feature a traditional fair with helter skelters and carousels.

Youngsters will also benefit from the You and Your Child Show, which boasts two demonstration areas.

Several entertainers will run a number of activities, including face painting, magic shows, storytelling, music workshops and dance and fashion shows.

For worn-out parents, there will be a a chillout/pamper zone.

Tickets on the day will cost pounds 15 for adults, pounds 12 senior citizens, pounds 6 for children aged five to 15, and pounds 39 for a family (two adults and two children).

Discounts are available by booking in advance.

For more details, visit www.stoneleigh festival.co.uk or call 0871 230 5567.

To exhibit at the show, call 01775 768661 or e-mail info@livepromotions.co.uk

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NEW FORMAT... Crowds at the last Town and Country Festival in 2006 (above), and (from far left) James Martin, Katherine Kelly and Bob the Builder
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 19, 2008
Words:436
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