Allendale Agricultural Show

The show’s website illustrates a cornucopia of local farming delights that will be reprised today.

Early in the week, in response to anxious queries about the weather and state of the showground, Dani Henderson, Show Secretary, was putting on a brave face: “A few people have been asking if the show’s going ahead. Well, the current plan is to carry on! Wear your wellies or boots, think about parking in the village and walking and come and hide from the showers in the bar, the craft tent, the industrial tent, one of our traders’ gazebos or the pavilion for tea and cake! Whatever the weather it’s always great fun!”

Indomitable spirit, I’d say, and well worth the day out. I’ve fond memories of helping out on the parking front at the show, as a small gang of Lions waved the vehicles forward onto the long field above the showground. Just standing around in the sunshine, with something intermittently to do to keep me occupied, felt like a different kind of bliss. But I’ve already sent out a public prayer to the weather-gods hoping for sunshine today. We’ll see.

Everyone has their own favourite section at the show, I’m sure. I always loved visiting the goat tent, though I don’t think it’s been presented for the past few years. After Foot & Mouth Disease struck the North Pennines hard in 2001, the animal entries dwindled dramatically; perhaps they’ve never recovered to their pre-epidemic state. But there are still exciting features, like the Indian Runner duck herding, or the terrier races. Everyone surely remembers the time Cllr Ian Hutchinson fell flat on his back refereeing the final race. As I recall, this exploit made it into the Hexham Courant! The Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling competition is scheduled for 1:00pm, as normal.

The Horse Showing and Show Jumping are always morning events, and the Industrial and Sheep judging takes place then too, with the Industrial tent open for public view from 1:00pm. An amble around and about the trade gazebos and a visit to the Craft Tent are always de rigeur activities. The grass quoits competition hoies off at 4:30 as local farmers wind down at the end of the day’s events, enjoying a quiet beer no doubt, and commenting on the competition. It’s all eye-hand-and-feet coordination, somehow enhanced with a pint or two!

Nobody’s needed to supervise the exit from the field parking, at the end of the day, unless there are a few cars that can’t slip-slide their way out on the wet grass, in which case there are certainly any number of tractors about that can be called into play to help. Everyone is very friendly at Allendale Agricultural Show.

You couldn’t ask for a better venue for a rural village show, and with the Dog Show competition as well, it’s a great day to bring the family buddy along to, too. But if you feel the need to wear a tutu, be sure to bring your wellies so you’ll blend in!

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