MELPLASH SHOW: Thousands enjoy record numbers of animals and entries (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)
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MELPLASH SHOW: Thousands enjoy record numbers of animals and entries
THE countryside came to town – and so did thousands of visitors, keen to see what makes the Melplash Show so special.
Perfect weather brought out the crowds of local people and holidaymakers and organisers said they were delighted with the turn-out for the 2012 show.
“It has been even better than we could have expected,” said show secretary Lucy Hart.
“The weather was absolutely perfect, people were pouring in and there was so much to see. We have had record numbers of animals this year and they, as ever, were the focal point.
The countryside arena was packed, the Food Hall and By the Sea seafood cookery theatre were constantly bustling, people were loving the main ring events and every trade stand had something for all the family.
“We are really happy that so many people have come to West Dorset and to Bridport to see what is still a truly agricultural show.”
Crowds of 20,000 flock to the agricultural show every year.
Organisers paid tribute to the team who had worked hard since the July floods to make sure that the showground was up to scratch, despite a more recent blocked drain and ground still soft in places.
The animals were as always the big draw with record entries and the chance to see the best in beef and dairy cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and donkeys put through their paces in front of the judges.
And the future of livestock farming looks to be in safe hands with the young handlers praised by judges.
One of the youngest was Lily Sims, seven, from Axminster, making her show debut, showing a lively young Gloucester Old Spot pig alongside dad Gary.
“It is her first time in the showring, but she is always practising,” he said.
“If I can’t find her, the chances are she’ll be out there in the pens.”
The Hurdlebrook Guernsey milkers were a huge draw, attracting crowds all day and particularly for the milking demonstrations.
Four-year-old Henry Roberts was delighted to meet the gentle beasts, which he judged to be on a par with the police tractor and sheep as far as his favourite things were concerned.
Dad Richard said his family, from Wolverhampton, was on holiday in the area and couldn’t believe how big the show was. “We are having a great time. It’s huge, isn’t it? A great day out.”
The horticultural and handicraft classes attracted large numbers of entries this year and countryside crafts and displays including gundogs, falconry, ferret racing, and thatching demonstrations drew large crowds.
Local food was a big element with tastings from dozens of local producers and cookery demonstrations from celebrity chef Lesley Waters who has a cookery school at Halstock and local culinary experts.
A new award presented by show president Caroline Sandwich – a salver dubbed The Sandwich Plate – for best local food product went to Capreolus Fine Foods of Rampisham, run by Karen and David Richards, who use locally sourced meats for their range of charcuterie.
In the main ring, magnificent heavy horses showed how farming used to be done and to bring things right up to date stunt rider Jason Smyth’s Adrenaline Stunt Show displayed breath-taking feats of daring using a quad bike in a way not recommended to local landowners.
After the traditional Grand Parade of Animals, there was the ever-popular Parade of Hounds, a chance to see foxhounds and huntsmen and women from the Seavington and Cattistock Hunt and the Park Beagles pour into the ring – and for children to mingle with the friendly dogs.
Bridport itself was on display too, with the Bridport Marquee giving a host of local organisations the opportunity to show what they do and to tell visitors more about the town.
Bridport Youth Under 13s also raised £800 through raffle ticket sales as part of their Bridport2Seattle2016 campaign to raise money to go to America.