Farming and fun at Aylsham Show

Richard Batson An annual celebration of country life is hoping for a bumper crop of visitors on Bank Holiday Monday as it showcases a blend of farming and family fun.

Richard Batson

An annual celebration of country life is hoping for a bumper crop of visitors on Bank Holiday Monday as it showcases a blend of farming and family fun.

The 62nd Aylsham Show will serve up its popular mix of arena attractions, livestock judging, crafts and stalls in the “back garden” of Blickling Hall.

Last year the event, despite having no livestock classes due to the foot and mouth outbreak, had bumper crowds and handed out a record £42,000 to charity.

Show secretary Chris Self said they were encouraged by the weekend weather forecast and hoping for another god turnout of 12,000 to 15,000 people this year.

Pre-show rain had not caused any problems on the showground site, which was well-drained, and the going was good for the showjumpers.

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“The show promotes local agriculture and horticulture. We are a traditional event, with an old-fashioned emphasis on children and families - with plenty of chances for youngsters to get involved through the sack race, tug of war, fancy dress and sheepdog display,” he added.

There was no sign of the dismal summer weather and credit crunch having an impact on the show, which had more trade stands than ever.

Organisers were looking forward to an expanded rural crafts area, improved food and farming section with cookery demonstrations and the return of the livestock, with record numbers of dairy and beef cattle.

Head cattle steward, Roger Long, said they were expecting more than 50 Holstein cattle in the ring, a varied range in the traditional beef breeds, and running British Simmental classes for the first time for many years.

Mr Long, who is a regional member of the National Farmers' Union's livestock board and farms at Scarning, near Dereham, said: “I'm delighted that we've got so many young handlers taking part in the dairy and beef classes. Certainly, this is what the Aylsham show is all about. It is a family show and end of season show.

“It is a chance for the youngsters to cut their teeth for the future.”

t Showground gates open at 8am. Main ring events run from 10.30am to 5.45pm, with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight due to display overhead at 2pm. Admission £10 adults, children and parking free. More information on the show website www.aylshamshow.co.uk