More than 95,000 visitors are expected for what promises to be an entertaining and informative three-day show celebrating local farming, food and country life.
Show Secretary Ollie Allen said they were getting ready to welcome around 95,000 people to the 120th County Show.
“The atmosphere at the showground is very like Christmas Eve,” she said. “We can’t wait to throw open the gates on Thursday morning and welcome people to the Show which is packed with all that’s great about Devon life.”
Among the first day visitors will be HRH The Princess Royal, who is expected to meet local farmers and members of the Armed Forces.
Farming is at the heart of the Show and it will be packed with livestock, agricultural machinery and suppliers.
“Our showground becomes a bit like an animal hotel,” added Ollie. “We’re providing stalls for around 600 beef and dairy cattle, pens for 1,400 sheep, not to mention stables for 1,000 horses along with accommodation for hundreds more animals.”
The showground is also the venue for lots of entertainment headlined by the high octane motocross stunt team the Bolddog Lings. During the three days there will be plenty of equestrian-action, rugby and a fun Devon attractions’ mascot race on Saturday.
Children will be able to get hands-on in Farm Wise Devon, a huge new food and farming feature.
Highlights include movie star Paddington Bear who will be picnicking with the youngsters on Thursday and Friday and Great British Bake Off’s Glenn Cosby who will be ‘baking it large’ in the demonstration kitchen on Saturday.
There will be lots of food and drink reflecting Devon’s growing stature as one of the finest food producing counties. The food and drink marquee has been extended by 5m to a massive 95m x 25m to accommodate more the local producers.
The popular Ales from Devon feature is stocking up on real ale and traditional ciders ready to serve around 10,000 pints. This year’s featured craft beer is ‘Blue Sky’ brewed by Country Life Brewery in North Devon.
Local crafts will be high profile and housed in the biggest marquee ever built on the showground with the roof coming in at 40,000 square feet. Alongside local craft producers, Devon craft champions Love-Local.com are creating a series of complete room-sets.
There are plenty of opportunities for visitors to have-a-go from learning to drive a tractor (on the production of a valid driver’s licence), leading an alpaca around a show ring to rolling a candle in the bees and honey feature.
A breed of sheep dubbed the world’s cutest, the Valais Blacknose, is making its first appearance at the Show. Farmer David Hodge from Halstock on the edge of Dartmoor is bringing the Swiss sheep which have shaggy coats, spiral horns and distinctive dark faces.
David Hodge said: “They’re so docile and good to handle; they just make you smile as soon as you see them.”
After last year’s exceptionally wet weather about £80,000 has been spent on improving the Show’s green field car parks. A new track has been installed through Green and White car parks and major improvements have been made to the land drainage. There is also more parking – 132 acres this year compared to 116 last year.
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