Big crowds expected at Birdfair in Rutland

CELEBRITIES, birds and thousands of tourists will descend on the area in a couple a weeks.

Birdfair 2011 is the biggest tourist attraction in Rutland and is held each year at Rutland Water Nature Reserve in Egleton.

Last year’s event attracted about 25,000 people and exhibitors from all over the world and this year’s event on August 19 to 21 is expected to attract even more.

The Birdfair was started 23 years ago by joint organisers Tim Appleton from the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and Martin Davies from the RSPB.

Tim said: “What I enjoy most about the Birdfair is seeing old friends from all over the world.

“I feel so proud that Rutland can host such a fantastic event and we get such good support from the Rutland community who volunteer or provide accommodation.”

Each year the event raises money for a Birdlife International project, and over the next three years the aim is to raise more then £1m for its flyways project.

The aim of the project is to protect migratory birds using the world’s three major flyways - in America, between Europe and Africa and between Asia and Australasia.

The county’s own ospreys at the Rutland Osprey Project in Lyndon use the flyway between Rutland and Africa each spring and autumn.

Tim said: “The impact of the Birdfair is now of global importance.

“At least 20 million American dollars have been raised so far and has been spent on projects all over the world.

“We have got such a huge waiting list for companies and crafters who want to be involved we are having to select only those with direct birding links for pitches.”

Among this year’s attractions are celebrity wildlife presenters such as Simon King and Mark Cawardine; lectures; photography; crafts and producers selling everything from optics to bird watching holidays.

The event is open from 9am to 5.30pm each day. Admission is £12.50 for adults, children under 16 free.

For more information visit www.birdfair.org.uk