WITH more than 25,000 visitors expected to make the trip to Bywell for this year's Northumberland County Show, traders have been queuing up to secure their place at the new showground.
Even with the additional land, near Stocksfield, the show’s trade and retail areas have very few slots left.
There has been such a demand that organisers have taken the decision to extend the deadline for bookings until March 1 to allow time to process all of the applications.
Show secretary Gaynor Scandle said: “This year we’ve seen lots of new traders signing up, but also our long-standing exhibitors, especially the agricultural equipment companies, have taken larger stands than ever before. Because the showground is new to us, we have to plan everyone’s position very carefully.”
Lloyd group, who are sponsoring the main attraction The Bolddog Lings motorcycle stunt team, are demonstrating all parts of their business, with luxury cars, agricultural machinery and their equine division alongside each other on a huge 48m long pitch.
Carrs-Billington Agriculture, agricultural machinery traders from Hexham, who are sponsoring the shearing section, have also reserved a large area.
Nigel Lockey, their machinery sales manager, said: “We are bringing a big articulated trailer to create a comfortable hospitality and catering area for visitors.
“We wanted to showcase our products in the best possible way. We have Krone grass products, Massey Ferguson and Fendt tractors, and hopefully something rather special.
“If possible, we’ll be showing a Krone Forage Harvester worth in excess of £300,000. It’s a huge machine that, with its header, has a span of nearly six meters.”
Rickerby’s are also planning to make an impact. They are celebrating the centenary year of Claas, and their 60-year long relationship with the well-known tractor and harvesting manufacturer.
Paul Scandle, their sales manager, said: “We are hopefully going to bring one of our tracked combine harvesters worth half a million pounds, and other vehicles in special livery that commemorate Claas’s 100-year anniversary.
“We are all really looking forward to the show, to having a bigger stand and meeting new customers from all over the country.”
With such large machinery and vehicles headed to Bywell on the same day, it’s fortunate the new showground benefits from better road access than its previous location in Corbridge.
Even with one road being unavailable to motorists pending repairs, the A69 has a one-way system planned, plus traffic management organised with the police and highways authorities.
In addition to the entry routes for the general public, a separate road has been earmarked for livestock and exhibitor vehicles.
Even the closed road will work to the visitors’ advantage, as the thousands of pedestrians who come to the show by train or bus to Stocksfield will have a car-free pathway directly into the showground.
The major event in the region’s calendar brings together the rural and agricultural community.
The county show takes place this year on bank holiday Monday, May 27. The schedules will be published in the next two weeks, and advance tickets are available at the end of February.