Preparations are in full swing for Northumberland’s annual agricultural showcase, the County Show which will return to its new home near Hexham at the end of next month.
Its office is buzzing with activity as hard-working volunteers are filling envelopes with tickets, leaflets, parking passes and collating all the information their huge range of visitors will need.
Assistant show secretary Vicky Ridley said: “It’s a complex job co-ordinating the operations.
“We have thousands of competitors, judges coming from all over the country, members, sponsors, the Press, not to mention the hundreds of traders who have a multitude of different requirements.
“It’s important that everyone gets the correct information to ensure the day runs smoothly.” The frenetic activity will continue for another few weeks as entries for the hundreds of classes come pouring in.
This year, thanks to funding from the Rural Development Programme for England, for which Defra is the managing authority, a new computer system has enabled competitors to apply online.
Show secretary Gaynor Scandle explained: “There were some glitches in the first few days after we launched the system, but they’ve been ironed out now and we’re excited to see over half of all entries being made through the website.
“This will massively reduce the workload for the volunteers as competitors’ information feeds directly into the show’s software, which in turn is reproduced in the show catalogue.”
“Entries close on May 1 so competitors are urged to go to our website as soon as possible to apply for the classes they want to compete in.”
This year the show is offering the traditional array of livestock-showing classes; cattle, sheep, horses, alpacas, goats, poultry, rabbits and cavies, plus British Showjumping, competitive homecrafts, stick dressing, sheep shearing, Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling and the Fentiman’s Kennel Club dog show.
Main arena attractions include the Kangaroo Kid, the Australian quad bike stunt rider; Dingle Fingle’s comedy clown show; North Northumberland Dog Agility Group display; heavy horse turnouts; Parade of Hounds; and the ever popular Grand Parade of Champions.
There are also more than 300 trade stands, local food and drink, tug of war, strong man competition, birds of prey, Treasure Trail and fun fair.
The Northumberland County Show takes place on Bank Holiday Monday, May 26, at Bywell, near Stocksfield.
For more information on the classes and to buy tickets, go to www.northcountyshow.co.uk