Successful county show is back – for the 145th year!
It started as a way of farmers showing off to one another and has continued to grow ever since – now this year more than 20,000 people are expected to flock to Weedon Park for the 145th Bucks County Show, writes Andrew Kay.
Highlights include a motorcycle stunt display, show-jumping exhibitions and an undercover shopping marquee.
And with similar events being cancelled across the country, due to poor weather and falling visitor numbers, this year’s best-in-class entrants are being hailed as ‘the cream’ of UK livestock.
The not-for-profit event started out as a contest between farmers to see who could plough in the straightest line. It has since grown to include 200 trade stands, a home and garden section, demonstrations of rural crafts and a food hall.
This year there will be 60 classes for cows and 30 classes for sheep. No animals are sold during the show, but farmers from Scotland to Cornwall are lining up to compete because of the prestige of winning in Bucks.
Show spokesman Ray Stollery said: “It does their valuation an awful lot of good because they have won a prize at the county show and it means their calibre of breeding is that much better.”
Despite the cancelling of this year’s Thame show and the permanent axing of the Royal show in Warwickshire, the Bucks event continues to go from strength to strength.
Mr Stollery, 67, says with fewer places for farmers to exhibit livestock ‘you are going to see the cream of cattle and sheep’.
He says although the show has an “animal backbone” it is aimed at families – and for children it is “a chance for them to see the animals and experience the countryside in a hands on way”.
He said: “Bucks is still a rural county in my view, people are living in an urbanised area in a rural county. In days gone by schools would still have a trip out to a farm at least once a year, but now that’s not possible because of health and safety.”
In the six weeks leading up to the show, a team of 20-30 volunteers have been working on-site to get the marquees and arenas ready.
During the day there will be up to 100 volunteers, doing everything from looking after the trophies to answering questions from the public
“People always say ‘why don’t you have it over the weekend or over two days’ but the fact we don’t have it over two days is because we have to rely on volunteer labour,” said Mr Stollery.
“But we are successful in what we do and that’s good enough for us.
“We try to have it on the Thursday after the August bank holiday because the children are still off school. On a Saturday there’s other things for families. It’s worked for 145 years so why change it? It seems to be convenient for everybody, we get over 20,000 people.”
This year the road between Weedon and Aston Abbotts will be closed, following an accident in 2011 which involved a lorry that was trying to turn around in Weedon.
“Last year there was an unfortunate road accident which was nothing to do with the show but we want to stop anything like it happening again,” said Mr Stollery.
The show takes place on Thursday, August 30. For more details visit www.buckscountyshow.co.uk
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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