Line-up revealed for this year's Devon County Show on May 17, 18 and 19
20th April 2018
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The 123rd Devon County Show was unveiled on Friday, April 20 amid talk about the impact of the late spring on Devon farmers and giant inflatable sea creatures.

In sunshine Show President and South Devon farmer Edward Darke said: “I think everyone in Devon farming will be looking forward to the County Show even more than usual this year, after the winter and spring that we’ve had.”

The Show will be held on May 17, 18 and 19 at the Westpoint showground, Exeter.

“What with the weather and all the Brexit uncertainty it will be a relief to be reminded of all the good things about farming in Devon - the quality of our livestock, the strength of our supply industry, the wonderful food and drink that we produce and the incredibly strong sense of community that there is among the family farms of Devon,” he added.

“That doesn’t mean that we’ll be forgetting the bigger picture, by any means.  There’ll be plenty of talk about farming politics and the problems caused by the weather. But it will help to put all of that in its proper context, and allow us to have a thoroughly good time in the process.”

For Show Secretary Ollie Allen this will be her 22nd County Show and final year at the helm but she said that no two shows were ever the same: “My passion to be part of an event which appeals to every strand of the Devon community only gets stronger year on year. And this year I’m certain we’re going to pull it off yet again!

“Of course, there will be an abundance of wonderful local food from a county bursting with a huge variety of local produce thanks to Devon’s two coastlines, moorland, rich rolling pastures and sheltered south-facing estuaries.

“And this year we are introducing two major new attractions; the Watering Hole, where visitors will savour street food, drink from Exeter Brewery, live music and plenty of seats housed in a huge red and blue marquee, and the Ocean Discovery Zone which embraces the magic and threats to our seas.”

“It will be a Show of mixed emotions for me but the star is the Show itself, so if there are plenty of happy people, enjoying themselves, whether competing or visiting, then – ‘job done’ for the last time!.”

At the event, sponsored by and held at Southernhay House, Exeter, the conservationists behind the new Ocean Discovery Zone feature filled the garden with giant inflatable creatures. Co-organiser Andy Peters said: “The Ocean Discovery Zone features 15 different West Country participants, offering hands-on engaging activities for all ages, a lot of pioneering research, fun learning, and a chance to discover more about the amazing marine environment around the Devon coastline. Meet conservationists, researchers and educators, become a steward of your seashore, learn how we can change a few things in our lives and help the ocean recover, and lots more.”

The County Show launch is just a few days before British Beef Week (April 23-30) and the food served to guests included Red Ruby Devon beef. Deborah Clark, owner of Southernhay House in Exeter which sponsored the launch, said: “Every one of us at Southernhay House, from the hippest hipster to the Labrador lover, looks forward to the County Show each year with excitement.

“As a sponsor, it’s a pleasure working with the professional team who make this event happen. As Devon lovers, we all feel proud to be a part of it and can’t wait for the event itself. This year looks set to be broader and better than ever; we’re intrigued to see the new Ocean Discovery Zone and the Watering Hole music and food venue. They’re both welcome new cultural insights.” 

Notable for this year:

  • The two most prestigious awards in the world of British cattle breeding will be contested for the first time at the Show; the Burke Trophies are awarded to dairy and beef breeds. What happens is that the best pair of animals from each breed entered will be selected in the dairy and beef sections.  The final judge-off between breeds will pre-empt the Grand Parade of Livestock in the Rathbones Main Arena on Friday afternoon.
  • The NEW Watering Hole is a huge red and blue marquee accommodating street food, live music and plenty of seats. For the first time, music will spill on into the evening with Queen tribute band Rhapsody on Thursday and a Sparks tribute act on Friday.
  • The NEW Ocean Discovery Zone is major marine conservation area bringing together organisations involved in conservation, education and research. There will be life-sized inflatable ocean creatures plus hands-on activities.
  • The Royal Wedding takes place on Show Saturday and we’ll be throwing the biggest party in the county (probably!). The Watering Hole will show live TV coverage, there will be a mass confetti throw and a head gear competition. In the Crafts and Gardens feature and the BBC marquee, there will be two wedding trees for visitors to write their good wishes; after the Show, the messages will be collected and sent to the Royal couple together with a Devon tree sapling to reflect the wedding day and also the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project (
  • NEW attractions in the Crafts and Gardens feature:
    • Displays to commemorate the centenary of the First World War including how the Women’s Land Army in Devon helped to feed the nation; some of the 30,000 poppies, hand-made last year to remember the lives lost from the South West, will be sold in aid of the Royal British Legion.
    • A glorious church flower competition to mark the hard work of the unsung church flower arrangers with a pedestal competition in the entrance section to the marquee. Pedestal displays from Devon churches will be judged by Show visitors.
  • NEW zorb football competitions between local sports teams and groups will be held in the Rathbones Main Arena.  The game is hilarious and heats will be held on Thursday afternoon and the semi-final and final will take place on Saturday afternoon. 
  • Also, in the Rathbones main arena, will be the Monster Trucks (Friday and Saturday), show jumping competitions, the Grand Parades of Livestock (Friday and Saturday) and a Massey Ferguson tractor parade.
  • NEW Mini-Monster Trucks will be driving around in the area next to the Show Office and will enable the children who are in awe of the Monster Trucks to drive a replica model.

Show attractions also include:

    • Livestock & animals
    • Food and drink
    • Non-stop entertainment
    • Bees & honey
    • Crafts & gardens
    • Country life & woodland
    • Devon Eye & fairground
    • Dog Show
    • Handicrafts
    • Ocean Discovery Zone
    • Royal Wedding celebrations
    • Sheep shearing
    • Shoeing & metalwork
    • Shopping!
    • Show jumping
    • Steam engines & vintage vehicles


Especially for young visitors:

    • Children’s Farm
    • Ocean Discovery Zone
    • The Mole Avon Wheelie Wild Trail


Farming, the countryside and food is at the heart of the Devon County Show, which is the great curtain-raiser for the livestock and horse showing season in the South West:


  • This is the fifth year of the Devon Farm Business Awards, run in association with the Addington Fund and Stephens Scown LLP. Awards will be presented at a gala dinner on the Showground on the eve of the Show.
  • Mole Valley Farmers will once again have a major presence to showcase their goods and services.


VIP visitors/celebrities:

  • Minette Batters, President of the NFU - will visit on Wednesday evening (for the Devon Farm Business Awards dinner) and visit the Show on Thursday
  • Devon Young Farmers’ will hold their annual debate on Friday


And finally, but very importantly, the County Show continues to offer good value for money:

  • ·       Two 2 children (5-15) are admitted free on Saturday with a paying adult
  • ·       Parking is free


About the Author

Colin S

Member since: 27th February 2014

Hi, I am Colin Slade, I am the New Business Manager here at thebestof Exeter and I handle lots of the PR and News stories for our clients

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