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Get ready for a fantastic day out at the Westmorland County Show
2:59pm Friday 7th September 2012 in Farm & country
THE Westmorland County Show - which takes place at Lane Farm, Crooklands, on Thursday, September 13 - is one of the largest one day shows in the country and certainly one of the oldest, given that the Society was founded in 1799 and continues to go from strength to strength 212 shows later.
The Show Team prides itself on presenting a major livestock show with its heart firmly rooted in agriculture – with classes which include cattle, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, heavy horses, alpacas, poultry and dogs such as fell foxhounds and working terriers.
There are the ever popular marquees for The Women's Institute, Learning for Life, Crafts from Cumbria and Rural Crafts, while entertainment and exhibitions will include the fabulous sheep show, woodland and forestry displays, Cumbrian axe men, chainsaw carving, vintage tractors and agricultural machinery and more than 350 trade stands.
And let’s not forget the popular Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling, a colourful event, with many wrestlers competing in traditional costumes. This year the show is hosting the 14 stones & under World Championship, which also offers classes for children, both boys and girls.
“We’ve invested a great amount in improving the showground to make sure it is sustainable for the long term and we are confident that we will always be able to go ahead, even in the most inclement weather,” said show chief executive Christine Knipe.
“The Main Ring will be larger, giving more space for all the classes and activities we have planned and additional roads have been laid to help keep traffic moving and provide a hard surface in the event of a wet day.
“In spite of the increasingly difficult trading climate, requests for trade stand space has once again exceeded availability and we are expecting record numbers of livestock exhibits. People have confidence that this show will always go ahead, and we have had more last minute entries because shows like Skelton had to cancel due to the rain.”
The Westmorland County Show is Cumbria’s premiere ‘shop window’ for a ‘taste, try and buy’ experience in a convivial and relaxing atmosphere. It’s a great place for people to meet and discuss current and future rural issues, bringing together people from all walks of life to meet, socialise and share their knowledge.
The Vice president of the NFU, Adam Quinney, will also be making a special visit – so go along prepared with wellies and a brolly (just in case) and you’ll be set for a great day out!
Christine Knipe said: “None of what we do would be possible without our dedicated show team and we are thrilled to have been shortlisted for Team of the Year in The Westmorland Gazette’s Business Awards.”
Stephen Proctor, who lives in Kendal, has been the Showfield Director for 25 years.
“He understands all the complexities involved with putting the show together,” said Mrs Knipe. “He works tirelessly to organise the layout of the grounds and looks after the team. We’re fortunate that he intends to carry on in this role for as long as there is a job to do.”
This year’s President is Hal Bagot, who owns the Levens Hall Estate. It is the first time a son has followed his father in the role – Robin Bagot was President at the 1951 show.
“It is an honorary position, and Hal has played an important role in getting involved and supporting the team,” said Christine.
“Our Presidents act as wonderful ambassadors for the county agricultural society and the county in general.”
“This part of the world and the farming community is so very special to me.” said Hal Bagot, who has lived at Levens Hall all his life.
His long-standing membership of the Westmorland County Agricultural Society has also given him the chance to enhance his already deep involvement with the farming community, and the fact that nearly all of the Levens estate tenant farmers are involved with the show (as were their parents) is a further source of pride.
What's new for 2012
The Great Boxing Booth Revival will be among the star ‘non-agricultural’ attractions at the show.
Christine Knipe said: “It is a brilliant piece of vintage theatre that will revive the old tradition where boxers would tour the country doing the rounds of the different fairgrounds and shows, taking on the local boxing talent.”
The booth is an artwork in itself, containing a boxing ring in which demon-strations will be staged, including a variety of sports and cultural performances.
Visitors will see an ever-changing troupe of extraordinary performers including dancers, magicians, actors, singers and swordsmen perform, with duelling ukuleles, hip hop dance offs, an operatic argument and much, much more.
Also new to the Crooklands event is the National Galloway Cattle Show.
Mrs Knipe said: “We are delighted to be hosting the Galloways for the first time and look forward to welcoming many exhibitors from north of the border.
“It promises to be a fantastic spectacle, bringing exhibitors from far and wide, including the very best of this traditional breed. The Prestigious Luing Cattle society and the Blue Grey Cattle society are also both coming to show.”
Sport for All brings a sporting theme to Westmorland in a ‘nod’ to the Olympic spirit of 2012.
Great sporting events include show jumping, while Mrs Knipe said the show was delighted that Barclays would bring Premier League Football to their stand this year and Hadwins Auto were bringing the Grand Prix.
“We were also approached by the English Cricket Board (ECB) to showcase cricket and we are working with Cumbria Cricket to offer opportunities to children of all ages to ‘have a go and win prizes.”
The ECB Cricket Factory Roadshow aims to give children fun that will encourage them to take up the game.
Food glorious food for all tastes
With special demonstrators and celebrity chefs, the county show is a celebration of the area’s finest food and drink – all from within a 55 mile radius of the showground.
Westmorland is proud to boast the largest local products Food Hall in the North West, entirely supported by local producers promoting their own products.
Among the culinary celebrities will be Alan Coxon, (left) a world-renowned chef, author of three cookbooks, a food archaeologist and recently the presenter, writer and executive producer for new TV series ‘From Birmingham to Bombay’.
The combination of his in-depth knowledge of ingredients combined with his infectious passion for sharing have culminated in Alan being described as the ‘Stephen Fry’ of the food world, while his historic range has been hailed as one of the most exciting culinary products to hit the shelves in modern times.
Traditional favourites and much more
LIVESTOCK will, as always, be at the very heart of the Westmorland County Agricultural Society Show.
Chief executive Christine Knipe said: “This is a truly exceptional agricultural show and we are already nearly up to the record number of entries we saw in 2011.”
Mrs Knipe, who has been running the show for seven years, added: “We have the largest number of sheep varieties of any show in Britain and there will be a giant marquee to hold the anticipated 480 cattle entries.
“What’s more, there is a huge and growing interest in agriculture among local children and young people. What better environment could there be for them to come and learn about showing animals?
“There are Young Handlers classes in all categories and they take it very seriously, gaining valuable experience in competing and showing other young farmers their sheep, cattle, poultry, pigs and even alpacas.”
Other show highlights:
- Equine Events
With events all day you can choose to watch carriage driving, show jumping or simply wander round and admire horses of every shape, size and breed – from Heavy Horses and Shires to Native Bred Fell Ponies and Shetlands.
“Our successes in the equestrian events at the Olympics have brought show jumping and dressage to the forefront,” said Mrs Knipe. “The jumping schedule will also include the exciting Speedi-Beet Horse of the Year Show Grade C Championship for 2012.”
- Rural Crafts
There will be opportunities for people to try their hand at lace making, Lunesdale rag rug making, oak swill basket making, thatching, wood turning, clog and leather work, coopering, Russian cane seating and spinning and weaving.
- Dressed Sticks
Organiser of this section, Bob Cannan, is expecting entries of around 300 dressed sticks in this highly popular category. There are 14 classes from elaborately worked horn-headed crooks to thumb sticks. Once again, young people can enter the novice classes.
- Kennel Club Dog Show
The Dog Show will also be in a new spot, a little closer to the main areas at Stainton Lane.
Free bus service and cycle park
In conjunction with Stagecoach, an enhanced bus service to the county showfield will operate throughout the day from Kendal and Milnthorpe – with a drop-off point outside the gate.
A circular bus service will start half-hourly from Kendal bus station at 9.15am, 10.15am, 11.15am, 12.15pm, 1.15pm, 2.15pm, 3.15pm, 4.15pm and 5.15pm, travelling via Endmoor on the A65. The next bus will leave at 9.45am, 10.45am, 11.45am, 12.45pm, 1.45pm, 2.45pm, 3.45pm, 4.45pm and 5.45pm, via Milnthorpe. The last bus will leave the showground at 6.05pm.
- A ‘fast track’ entrance at Gate C is available for those with pre-paid or members’ tickets.
- A dedicated bicycle park is provided opposite the main entrance to accommodate the increasing number of people arriving by bike.
- Discounted tickets are available in advance from many outlets and can be purchased from the website, including a print-at-home E-ticket.