Record breaking crowds thronged to Reaseheath College’s Family Festival on Sunday, making the event the best and biggest since its launch 26 years ago.

Around 11,000 visitors enjoyed the action-packed event on the college’s Nantwich campus, which offered hundreds of fun activities and displays in a day of perfect spring weather. This year Reaseheath is celebrating its centenary as a land based educational establishment, and the college’s rich history and how rural industries have developed over the past 100 years was a key theme.

Displays included 100 years of bricklaying; farming machinery through the ages; vintage cars and butchery, cheese and butter making. There was also a chance to admire the latest in technology with tours of Reaseheath’s industry standard vertical farm, glasshouses, dairy processing halls, robotic milking parlour and veterinary nursing centre.

Crowds gathered at an exciting BMX show and to hear talks by keepers at Reaseheath’s mini zoo, while at the college’s Equestrian Centre a stunt team from Newfields Riding School had spectators at the edge of their seats with their daring trick riding. There were also student drill rides to music, a side saddle display and a polo cross demonstration.

Headline acts including the Celtica Irish Dance Company, the Street Dance Academy and local bands Bored Adventure and Reckless Serenade provided entertainment on the main stage, along with demonstrations of sausage making, cake decorating and jujitsu.

Family fun was guaranteed by ‘have a go’ activities ranging from tree climbing and creating floral buttonholes to telehandling, block paving and numerous sporting activities. An authentic model of an iconic WW2 Mark 1X Spitfire, complete with a team of WW2 re-enactors, was also much admired. Visitors also enjoyed meeting local Tik Tok sensation  ‘Beans’, a Bernese Mountain Dog, and his owner Wesley Newton, and Sheridan, an animated sheep dog.

Children were introduced to science at an outdoor learning lab run by University Centre Reaseheath, enjoyed activities at a forest college and tackled an army assault course.

A climbing wall owned and run by Nantwich’s 38th South West Cheshire Scout Group proved a huge hit, and the scouts also demonstrated backwoods cooking and edible pioneering.

Scout Leader Dave Brough said: “This has been a really engaging day with so many visitors and activities. For us it has been an example of collaboration at its best, allowing us to strengthen our profile within the community and also to allow our World Scout Jamboree contingent the opportunity to raise valuable funds to allow them to attend the world jamboree in Japan next year.”

Other highlights included a calf show, a fun dog show, displays of robotic tractors, and demonstrations by the Clwyd Axemen and the British Divers Marine Life Rescue. Opportunities for refreshments ranged from vintage teas to street food vendors and there was a vibrant Farmers and Craft Market. Reaseheath Student Association took the opportunity to raise funds for one of this year’s chosen charities, Hope House Children’s Hospices.

Reaseheath Principal and CEO Marcus Clinton said: “This has been an amazing day with a real buzz from start to finish. Community is at the heart of Reaseheath and it has been wonderful to see such bumper crowds engaging with the countryside, learning about the college’s specialist areas and gaining a better understanding about the important agendas around sustainable food production and environment sustainability.

“It was also a privilege to welcome so many former students and staff back onto campus for a celebratory tea, and to catch up with their professional progress and hear their stories.

“We received tremendous support from our many employer partners and from local organisations, and I’d like to thank them and our staff and students for working together to make this event so special.”