Agricultural Shows – Why do people love them?

We were invited to the launch of the Tullow Show on Thursday night. We were somewhat intrigued as we’ve never been invited before. The invitation came to ‘Mr & Mrs Brian James’ so it couldn’t have been because of my book as I’ve Lorna Sixsmith on it. Brian decided he’d come along which surprised me somewhat but he’d know some of those there and it isn’t the busiest time of the year.

The Tullow Show is being held on 17th August, it’s in its 65th year. It is always a good show, not too big to be overwhelming, big enough to have plenty to view and yet small enough to still feel like a local show. One field is home to the horse jumping and dressage and the other has the various tents, stands and livestock competitions.

There’s a video here from the late 60s. From the footage, you can see it was a dry year. Women are in dresses and shoes – no signs of wellies. Back then, it was always on 15th August, no matter what the day of the week as it was a holy day. Although it wasn’t a bank holiday, many farmers would do the minimum farm work and take the day off so going to a show was the perfect activity.

Brian always went to it when he was young. I think I went once or twice but we usually go every second year now since we came back to farming. ?We usually meet people that we haven’t seen since the previous show and a five or ten minute conversation gets us all back up to date for another year! I often mean to get the kids to prepare something for the kids competitions but you have to be there early to submit them which is never possible by the time cows are milked and everything is herded so we’ve never got around to it. I’m always really impressed by the dedication by those who are there early coiffeuring their cattle not to mention those that bring their fresh baking and their perfectly arranged flowers.

The tug of war is making a comeback this year and I think they also mentioned having teams pulling tractors this year too! Full details can be seen on the Tullow Show website. ?Last year they let 17 new local businesses take a stand at the show for free if they were less than a year old and they are doing the same again this year so do get in touch if that applies to you. ?The launch was a good night. Turtle Bunbury, author and historian, was the guest speaker. I met various people who congratulated me on my book although when I enquired, not that many seemed to have read it which amused me. ?I met a lady who won the ICA ‘Housewife of the Year’ back in 1985. She had to prove that she could change the tyre on a car, cook a economical meat dish and make an outfit suitable for a day at the races/show. Talk about having to be a good all rounder – I was impressed! Would you be able to do all three to a high standard? Here’s a link to an article about the last Housewife of the Year competition in 1995. Yes, less than 20 years ago, we had Gay Byrne interviewing six finalists about their housewifery skills. ?The cooking competitions continue – I found a link to a post about one in Tipperary in 2009 on Lisa McGee’s blog.

Do you go to many agricultural shows each year? If you’re single, they are a good place to find single farmers! This year, I will be going to the Nantwich Show in Cheshire (and this conference the day before) , I’m going to be selling my books at Tullamore Show on 10th August. We will probably go to both the Tinahely show and the Tullow show for two family days out. ?If I can get a stand at the Ploughing Match (3 days in September) for less than what a kidney would cost me, I will hopefully sell my books there too.

2 thoughts on “Agricultural Shows – Why do people love them?

  • M T McGuire

    Loved this post. I used to go to the Sussex County show at Ardingly every year with my Mum. We loved it. We’d look at the hounds, the pigs the cattle the sheep and goats, along with all sorts of sundry animals. We’d watch the Heavy Turnouts and snicker at the name (a Heavy Turnout is shorthand for a crap in my neck of the woods). We’d watch the showjumping, sample the jams and crafts and buy home grown produce… it was and still is, no doubt, brilliant fun. Sometimes the Queen would go on the same day as us. Then it would always rain. Royal weather.

    Best of luck with the book sales, I hope they go well. i’ve taken the plunge, myself and signed up to do the Bury Christmas Fayre this year.



    • Lorna

      Kids love the Heavy Turnouts don’t they! Ag shows are a great day out for the family as there’s something for everyone. I visited the Bath and Wells show once when we lived in Somerset, it was huge.
      gosh, I haven’t thought about Xmas fairs yet. Clergyman came up the other day, they are doing a cookery demonstration in Oct to raise funds and selling stands for ?80 so I kinda had to take a stand. It’ll be interesting to see how many books I sell. I will be doing an update later in the year to reveal success/failure of exhibiting at shows!



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