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Countdown to Dorset County Show begins
THE countdown to this year’s Dorset County Show has now officially commenced and with less than a month to go before the annual attraction opens its gates on Saturday, September 7.
Show office staff are working at full pelt, co-ordinating and refining the huge line-up of classes and events planned for this year.
The Dorset County Show, the only agricultural show in the south west to fall over a weekend, has grown enormously since it was first formed in 1841, with visitor numbers over the two days peaking at its highest ever last year at 60,000.
According to the show secretary, Sam Mackenzie-Green, the secret of the show’s success is its carefully balanced mix of ingredients.
She said: “We are first and foremost an agricultural show getting a diverse range of animals in big quantities to the showground is the priority.
“We now host a number of prestigious livestock competitions and championships which makes the show important to breeders and means that entries to some livestock classes are growing by 15 per cent year on year.
“This year, we estimate that 2,500 animals will pass through the gate – that’s 800 more than five years ago. And there will be all creatures great and small for the public to see – from massive burly bulls to miniature rabbits.”
They also aim to strike a balance with the main ring attractions. Horses usually take the lead with the carriage driving, show-jumping and scurry racing.
Sam added: “But exit polls suggest that kids also want thrills, spills and screeching tyres. This year our headliner is the Kangaroo Kid Matt Coulter, all the way from Australia who will be performing death-defying, white knuckle ride stunts on his quad bike.”
This year the Dorset food hall is even bigger.
Sam said: “Producers are chomping at the bit before we even started selling the stands and, this year, the stand space sold out in early May.”
The homecraft marquee is taking on a carnival theme this year.
Organiser Nicki Ralph is confident that her devoted followers from all different age groups will rise spectacularly to the challenge.
She said: “They always amaze me with their creativity.
“The theme is quite broad but it’s certainly going to be colourful. For those who need some inspiration, perhaps some bunting, a headdress made from colourful feathers, a mask or a celebration cake.”
Under 16s go free whether accompanied by an adult or not which has greatly boosted the teenage attendance at the show. To find out more about this year’s Dorset County Show and to book tickets, visit the website at dorsetcountyshow.co.uk