A day out at an agricultural show. A show that attracts over 132,000 visitors over its three days? Maybe you don’t think it’s your idea of fun? Let me tell you more…
I’m very lucky that I live a little over five miles away from the Great Yorkshire Showground. There are events held there all year round - I always enjoy the Spring and Autumn Flower Shows, and the annual Christmas Crafts show. But the main event - and the reason for the showground’s existence - is the magnificent Great Yorkshire Show.
Local people do complain about the extra traffic it brings, and the fact that the Sainsbury’s store near the show ground is closed for the duration (their car park given over to disabled parking), but it really is the most wonderful day out
I’ve lived in the area for long enough to remember the mud bath it could be in years gone by, but the tarmac walkways that cross the site since its development mean there are no longer any problems with that. Mind you, they do seem to have been very lucky with the weather in recent years. I visited the show this year on its last day, Thursday 16th July, wearing a rather fetching sun hat and slathered in suntan lotion, because it was a scorcher.
What did I enjoy? Everything - but my first stop was the food pavilion, a wonderful celebration of food from Yorkshire and considerably further afield, with samples to taste (who can resist a frying sausage?) and great displays to admire. See lead photo. At the opposite end of the same pavilion - through the cheese area, which was a tad whiffy on such a steamy day - were the flower displays, really spectacular and an opportunity to get some ideas for your own garden.
The show ground is full of stands selling everything you could ever want, and probably never knew you did - from handmade jewellery through kitchen gadgets to agricultural equipment, craft items to wet weather clothing
I guarantee you’ll come home with some new gadget you’ll wonder you’ve managed to live without until now. - or maybe that’s just me. The scale of it all is quite mind-boggling - the show covers over 100 acres, with a further 250 acres of car parking. I’m not that familiar with an acre really, but I can certainly tell you it means achy legs and tired feet by the end of the day.
Of course, this is an agricultural show, and there are animals to admire. My friend and I wandered around the sheep pens - you’re not going to believe me when I tell you how fascinating it was, are you? Unless you’re a sheep farmer, you’d never believe the range of colours and textures and shapes of horns - and some of them are quite beautiful.
We did tire of the pigs - after a while, they did get a bit samey! The cattle parade in the main ring was quite superb though - with the gorgeous little calves bringing up the rear in each group
Then there are the displays and events to watch - and a welcome opportunity to sit down for a while. We watched the sheep shearing, and a display of catching rabbits with a pointer and ferrets (no shotgun pellets in the meat…), and some wonderful Australian dancing sheep with a presenter who really should have a TV show. And we rounded the day off at the main ring, watching the pony club racing over hurdles, followed by the show highlight, the Cock o’the North show jumping, complete with international names even I knew.
We finished the day tired and happy - it was a really lovely day out.
The Great Yorkshire Show in 2016 will take place from Tuesday 12th to Thursday 14th July.