A young exhibitor showing her pig at the 2011 Great Yorkshire Show
A young exhibitor showing her pig at the 2011 Great Yorkshire Show
With only days to go until the Great Yorkshire Show opens its gates, organisers have announced that the number of group bookings is at an all time high.

Bill Cowling, Show Director said: “These days more and more people book on line, so numbers go up year on year, but what’s been noticeable this time is that we’ve had more people booking as groups , and from far and wide. We’ve had applications from Northern Ireland, down to Cornwall and of course Scotland too.” Groups are defined as 15 people or more.

“These visitors often come by coach so that reduces the carbon footprint, which is good news too,” added Mr Cowling. “This is one of the most difficult economic times in living memory so I see it as a huge vote of confidence that so many people have committed their hard earned cash to coming along.” To date, group bookings total £37,500 compared with last year’s figure of £35,200, an increase of 7%.

The show is all set for a great three days with around 10,000 animals coming before the judges, and, in what is a first, the Great Yorkshire Show will be the setting for the wedding of two exhibitors.

Dates are Tuesday 10 – Thursday 12 July, when it is anticipated around 130,000 visitors will attend the country’s leading showcase for agricultural excellence and rural life.

Two exhibitors will temporarily leave their sheep and walk across the showground to the President’s Pavilion to get married. After the ceremony, which takes place on Tuesday, the first day of the event, they will go back to work, showing their animals in the judging rings. They will be hoping to have double cause to celebrate!

In addition, a new trophy will be presented on the first day of the show to the Best Soldier in The 1st Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. In what will be a unique occasion, the Regiment will demonstrate the Freedom of Harrogate at the invitation of the Society. Some 185 soldiers will parade around the show’s Main Ring wearing combat dress, with Colours flying and bayonets fixed. There will also be a silence to mark the Regiment’s recent losses. The Society’s President, Simon Theakston accompanied by Mrs Candy Theakston, will present the specially commissioned trophy.

The competitive classes have resulted in the second highest entry figure (12,630) in the Show’s 174 year history, with everything from cattle to cheese and from stick making to sheep shearing.

Also on the agenda are:

fashion shows with collections from students as well as established designers
top class show jumping
a Food Hall presenting the best of British, and particularly Yorkshire fare
internationally-acclaimed sculptures from the prestigious Yorkshire Sculpture Park
demonstrations of country skills such as fishing, gun dog training and dry stone walling
the first heat of an international landscape gardening competition
extensive displays of everything from combine harvesters to luxury cars

Amongst the visitors will be TV gardener, Christine Walkden of BBC’s “The One Show”, chefs Rosemary Shrager and Clarissa Dixon Wright, David Bellamy and Gervase Phinn.

The Great Yorkshire Show is held at the 250 acre Great Yorkshire Showground, near the spa town of Harrogate.