The Northumberland County Show attracted a bumper Bank Holiday crowd today as families, farmers and fun-seekers flocked to Bywell Hall.
Despite negative forecasts, the weather held out as thousands gathered to inspect the very best of the region’s agricultural offering, as well as enjoying a host of attractions - from strongman and tug-of-war competitions to a motorcycle display team.
Among the visitors were Glasgow’s Vicky Nixon, 32, husband Paul, 34, and six-year-old daughter Olivia.
Vicky said: “We didn’t know much about the Northumberland County Show before hand to be honest but this is such a fantastic day out and the show ground is just beautiful.”
It was the third year the event has been held at the Stocksfield site with permission from Lord and Lady Allendale.
Despite the large crowds, organisers said lessons had been learned from 2014’s event and this time traffic and car parking arrangement worked seemlessly.
In the agricultural sections, entries were up by around a sixth across the board. The Ultimate Champion of Champions accolade went to Gordon and David Gray, off Sunnycroft Farm, Lindean, Selkirk, for texel gimmer.
Visitors also got the opportunity to browse around 350 local trade stands, as well as The Journal’s very own Taste of the County food and drink marquee.
Lesley Hampson, ncjMedia regional event manager, said: “We were delighted with the turnout and so were the stallholders.
“It’s been non-stop since 9am and two of the stalls had sold out by early afternoon.”
Meanwhile, numerous activities were offered for children and families, from a zoo of reptiles and exotic mammals hosted by Northumberland College’s Kirkley Hall campus to face painting, fairground and pony rides.
Other highlights included a falconry display, a gundog test, live music and performances.
Organiser Judy Willis, who took on the role in September, said: “It’s been a steep learning curve but I’ve really loved the challenge. What really amazes me is the commitment of so many volunteers and we also have a lot of young Army, police and RAF cadets helping.
“There is such an absolute passion there and for farmers this is a chance for them to display everything they have been working hard on and investing in.”
She added that the show’s advanced ticket hotline had “never stopped ringing” this year, illustratiung the event’s growing popularity.
“As part of my five-year plan I’ll be considering whether it can become a two-day show,” she said. “There are mixed views in the office about that but if we want to grow and develop then we need to look at all the options available to us.”
Chairman Chris Chomse, who was serving his third year of a three-year stint in the role, said: “Everything has gone very very well. We are very grateful to Lord and Lady Allendale for giving us the use of this beautiful space.”
He added that the agricultural entries had been of a higher standard and remained at the heart of the show. However every effort had also been made to make the event a fun day out for the whole family.
“It’s a matter of town meets country - and it’s the very best of both,” he said. “People want to know about what they are seeing and those on the show field are always happy to impart the knowledge.
“The traders are all so fantastic and it’s amazing to think that apart from three members of staff this is all down to volunteers.
“The real reward comes from seeing all the smiling faces and I would really like to thank everybody involved.”