Truffle and Fred draw a mall crowd

THE weather might have been icy, but two visitors to Hargreaves Mall were rugged up in the warmest possible clothes on Thursday.

The woolly rams Fred and Truffle ambled down the mall with two giant balls of fleece in tow just in time to meet Bendigonians as they headed out for lunch.

The pair officially launched the 2014 Australian Sheep and Wool Show, with almost 2600 of their compatriots arriving in Bendigo on Thursday.

Australian Sheep Breeders Association president Peter Baker said the pavilions would be packed to the rafters with Australia's best sheep. .

"We have 2600 hundred sheep being unloaded at the showgrounds as we speak (on Thursday morning)," he said.

Passers-by walked up to pet the two rams, who came to Bendigo from the district between Dubbo and Orange.

Fred even performed his world-famous royal bowing routine to some lucky locals.

The pair of fine sheep specimens were in Hargreaves Mall to promote the Sheep and Wool Show, which starts on Friday.

The Bendigo Festival of Lamb will be one of the highlights of this year's festival. with 15 local restaurants and cafes having their take on a classic lamb dish on their menus this weekend.

Children aged 10 to 14 will also have the chance to experiment with lamb ingredients during the show.

Erica Crowther, of Life and Fork cooking classes, said her What's In the Box children's cooking class at 11am on Sunday would be an introduction to healthy eating and produce selection.

"We have a lamb dish that the children are going to try and cook," she said.

"We'll also discuss, from a child's perspective, what to look for in quality, nutritional ingredients when they go shopping with their parents.

"It's a nutritional session, while also giving an insight into cooking techniques."

The 45-minute session will include a talk about healthy eating before Mrs Crowther reveals the secret ingredient inside the box.

The class is in the Festival of Lamb marquee.

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