A village show that welcomed a 25% increase in visitors last year is hoping for a similar response on its 154th outing this weekend.
Slaley Show was cancelled in 2011 because of heavy rain and although hail and snow were predicted last year, the committee went ahead and were rewarded with an estimated 4,000 visitors, at least 1,000 more than the previous two shows.
In financial terms, rather than breaking even as in previous years, the show actually made a profit of more than £3,000, securing this year’s event (staging costs average £16,000) and the confidence to book not one but two headline main arena acts – a birds of prey display and Galloping Acrobatics, a gymnastic, acrobatic and equestrian skill presentation.
Sheep secretary Hazel Clarke is looking forward to a busy time with exhibitors battling for honours in classes including Bluefaced Leicester, Texel, Mule and other Continentals.
The show will also feature the usual industrial, horticultural, floral, vegetable and ferret classes, along with horse and pony and dog classes. There will be ferret racing and an alpaca display. New attractions include a food hall with spaces taken by Northumberland Sausage Company from Wark, Trotters Family Bakers from Seahouses, Dilleys of Hexham, the Moody Baker from Barnard Castle, Kenspeckle Northumbrian Confectionery from Lynemouth, the Northumberland Cheese Company from Blagdon, Deli at 4 from Hexham, Bin 21 from Morpeth, Wheelbirks from Stocksfield and the Mad Jam Woman from Amble.
Chairman of the volunteers committee Jim Bailey said: “We’ve actively encouraged local food producers to join us this year and it’s paid off with some of the region’s big names joining us.
“Slaley itself is home to the Northumbrian Pedigree dairy brand, so we are keen to profile others promoting culinary excellence in the county – and we’re delighted to have the support again of our very own Mad Jam Woman.” For the Mad Jam Woman Sandy Higson, exhibiting at Slaley Show means a return to her childhood home.
Sandy started her business as a hobby in 1995, and says she inherited her jam-making skills from her mother. She said: “I’m from Slaley, went to school there and lived there when I was first married.
“My grandfather Thomas Irvine was the postman and Methodist preacher and was on the Slaley Show committee for many years in the 40s and 50s. His nickname was Tom Squash and I’ve inherited the squash nickname.”
Biggest change to the schedule this year is a new section sponsored by the Friends of the North Pennines AONB to mark important archaeological work in the parish at Dukesfield Arches, on remains of the biggest lead ore works in Europe in 1600-1835.
We’ve encouraged local food producers to join us and it’s paid off with some of the region’s big names joining us