This year 12,800 Preschool children and their parents/carers attended, and similar to the last four years (excluding last, as it wasn't on), we attended. Just little monkey and I this time as Mr Monkey was working and big monkey was at school!
The festival holds taster sessions for children and parents on numerous and various classes run throughout the county, like Jo Jingles, Talking Tots, Gymboree and so on and there are also local farm stalls, story telling, face painters, food stalls, a large sand pit, soft play tents and lots more! The tickets fly like hot cakes and the park where it is held is always buzzing during the festival.
Little Monkey and I went on the Wednesday (day 3 out of 4). We got there about half and hour after it started and to be honest little monkey was a little rotter to begin with! He wouldn't wear the wrist band they give you at the gate (which has a password on which you choose in case you get separated). Try as I might, I could not get him to wear it anywhere on his person! So the mood was set for a few tears, a reluctance to join in any of the activity's that we spied on closer investigation, and he then had a snooze in his pushchair!
We met some friends and fellow bloggers from The Hart of the Munchkin Patch and Emmy's Mummy and Harry's Too, and luckily by the time we all met up little monkey had finished his snooze and was in a much better and more sociable mood! After a picnic with the others we had a wander and the children played at the bits of the festival they took a fancy too!
The weather could have been better but at least it did not rain and it certainly did not spoil the children's fun. Little monkey took a liking to the environment stall where lots of 'junk' activities had been set up for the kids to enjoy. He took a real liking to playing with rubber ducks on a blank of wood and rolling balls along some drain pipe!
We chose two ducks with numbers on and there was a special name that matched the number. In return for numbered duck, you took a plain one home with the special 'Adopt a Name' on and parents and carers where encouraged to say the name as many times a day to their little one as possible. Little monkeys is 'Squiggle' and we chose one for big monkey. His is 'Gorgeous'. What a lovely idea.
There were lots of families and children at the festival and this year they even put on canoe trips around the lake and had a big stage where artists played. Unfortunately we did not get around even half the festival now that it is bigger, but it was great to attend again and to catch up with Liz and Clare and the children. Maybe we can all go again next year?
Sadly as were we leaving at the end there was a nasty act of violence at the gate, luckily little monkey did not see this, but as adults, we noticed and so too did Clare's daughter. Not a great end at all to a great day.