It's showtime, Suffolk!

FINAL preparations are today being put in place for this year's Suffolk Show.

FINAL preparations are today being put in place for this year's Suffolk Show.

The two-day extravaganza will show case the very best of Suffolk as the county fights back in the face of recession.

As exhibitors flock to the showground at Trinity Park, The Evening Star and Suffolk County Council have joined forces today to back the event with two special Suffolk Show editions direct from the showground.

Chris Bushby, executive show director, said the event will be a show of which Suffolk can be proud.

He added: “Undoubtedly putting on this year's show has been challenging, especially given the turbulent economic climate but it is rewarding that these challenges have enabled us to produce a Suffolk Show which arguably could be and should be one of our best.”

Thousands are expected to visit the 178th Suffolk Show and enjoy the traditional highlights of livestock, show jumping, hundreds of trade stands, stunning flower arrangements, food and drink, and entertainments.

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Mr Bushby added: “Our market research undertaken during last year's show clearly identified why people visited the show.

“We have ensured that the content of the year's show meets these expectations of it being the biggest retail space in the county, a great day out for all the family with thrills and spills, animal magic incorporating many different breeds of livestock and equine, local colour with all the expanded Flower and Garden Experience has to offer, and promoting our heritage through food and drink, of which so much is produced locally by the farming community of Suffolk.”

With much depending on the weather, marquees and trade stands are being put in place, the show's seven show rings are being prepared, and tickets are already selling fast with advance online ticket sales already up by about 40 per cent.

Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover said: “The Suffolk Show is the county's chance to show off what's best about our glorious county.

“Our reporting and photographic team will be at the show talking to visitors, exhibitors, traders and organisers giving you the latest news from the event in our print editions and through our online service.

“Along with our partners at Suffolk County Council we will be publishing two special editions on both days of the show, full of stories from Suffolk businesses and organisations that are Fighting Back out of these difficult times.”

A visit by HRH The Duke of Kent on Thursday will give the event the Royal seal of approval.

Tickets are available on the day at the four entry gates - Foxhall, Nacton, Bucklesham and Ipswich - priced �17 per adult, �6 per child, �14 for over 60s and �40 per family ticket for entry for two adults and two children. Car parking is �5.

Are you a fan of the Suffolk Show? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

FOR gardeners, the newly rebranded Flower and Garden Experience will feature five award-winning exhibitors from Chelsea, including Potash Nurseries of Bacton, creators of the Suffolk Splendour Fuchsia to be launched on Wednesday, who picked up its ninth Silver Gilt medal and Sulmans who collected a Gold Medal.

Muir Strawberries and Pheasant Acre Nursery from Bridgend who both were awarded a Silver Gilt, and, for the first time, garden designs from Tom Hoblyn of West Suffolk, who received a Silver Flora medal for his design for The Foreign and Colonial Securities' garden, will be among the nine boards in the 90 x 30m marquee sponsored by Abbotts Corporate Clients.

Long Service Awards will be given to people who have worked in the industry for more than 30 years. The total years worked for this year's awards is in excess of 150, with the longest serving clocking up 51 years.

FINAL preparations are now in hand for Suffolk County Council's presence at this year's county show.

A spokesman for the council said: “Our theme this year is the Suffolk Story and the work we are doing to help beat the recession. There will be plenty of things for visitors to see and do, while they find out more about the county council's priorities to make Suffolk a great place to live, learn and work in.

“Over the two days, we have a series of activities planned for the whole family to take part, so come along and have a go.”

Attractions include:

Wii R Fit, R U? Take the Suffolk Challenge on the Wii and sign up to take part in a new get fit scheme. The best score wins a prize.

Business advice from the friendly 'Dragon's Den' Business Link advisers.

Tips on ways to make your money go further during the economic downturn - come along to a demonstration on card making, flower arranging, and home composting.

The chance to support local businesses by buying fresh and yummy goodies from Growing Places and Poppy's Pantry.

Suffolk County Council's very own Kim and Aggie, the Community Learning and Skills Development team, show you just where the bugs are lurking when you wash your hands.

Sign up, sign up ,sign up! Orwell2, the latest award winning mobile library will be at the Suffolk Show. Join the library and take out a book on the day.

If you're worried about the safety of an elderly friend or relative, speak to a Community Safety adviser. And if you're a family carer, you can join the support network.

Something for the Children - Take time out for a story with the Bookstart team or draw a picture of your favourite thing in Suffolk.

Firefighters' Challenge - how quickly can you put on a firefighter's uniform? Try the new helmets for size!

Who do you think you are? Come along to the Suffolk Record Office Top Time activity and find out how to research your family history.