One of Shropshire’s biggest agricultural shows makes a welcome return on August 4.
Due to the pandemic, Burwarton Show was last held in 2019 and its absence has clearly made the heart grow fonder.
“The response from exhibitors, traders, competitors, members and show supporters has been tremendous. There is so much enthusiasm for the show. Everyone thinks the same – it is wonderful to have it back,” says Show Manager Glenys Allen.
It is a particularly welcome return for Chairman Alan Watkins – it’s his third year in office but his first show!
“It’s almost as hard not to put on a show, as to put one on,” he admits with a wry smile. “You can’t please everyone. Some people thought large events should be cancelled, others thought they should go ahead. Many people are inevitably disappointed if you call it off. But it costs £250,000 to put on the show, much of which you spend up front, and there was simply too much uncertainty in 2020 and 2021 to risk losing it all. We couldn’t get insurance for Covid and, on health grounds, we didn’t want to risk bringing Covid into the area.”
This year, thankfully, the only uncertainty is the perennial one – the weather.
The show is bouncing back with a packed programme. There will be all the traditional classes for animals as well as an extensive horticultural and handicrafts section.
Trade stands, a food hall, shopping arcade and craft exhibitions are amongst other attractions. Sheep-shearing and a display of vintage tractors and stationary engines will evoke that rural nostalgia so beautifully captured by such shows.
This year the show welcomes back two popular main ring acts – the daredevil stunts of the Jamie Squibb Freestyle Motor-cross display team and the Atkinson Action Horses, highly-skilled horses and riders who promise to thrill with their high-energy stunts.
Outside the arena, there will be a splendid display of Aldabra Giant Tortoises, which have captivated visitors in previous years. And show-goers shouldn’t miss the chance to meet the Dyfed-Powys Mounted Special Constable with the mascot of the 1st Royal Dragoon Guards.
Competition is sure to be fierce with classes for heavy horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, carriage driving, dressage and show-jumping plus the ever-popular mounted Fancy Dress contest. New for this year are classes for the Valais Blacknose and Dutch Spotted sheep breeds. The first horse classes start in the main ring at 8am.
For youngsters, the Panic Circus team – a modern non-animal social circus providing hands on family fun activities – will entertain in the children’s play area. The Village Green programme runs throughout the day with Magic Russ, Punch and Judy, the Church Stretton Accordion Band and singer Helen Pearson.
Parking is free at the showground, which is at Cleobury North between Bridgnorth and Ludlow on the B4363 (WV16 6RP).
“Competition is sure to be fierce with classes for heavy horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, carriage driving, dressage and show-jumping plus the ever-popular mounted Fancy Dress contest.”
Glenys adds, “Burwarton is a traditional agricultural show and a fantastic day out in the wonderful Shropshire countryside. We aim to cater for all ages and all tastes. When people stroll around the showground, we want them to see something different that grabs their attention at every turn.”
A cookery demonstration area and milk production feature are among new additions for 2022.
Though Burwarton Show dates back more than a century and celebrates country life through the decades, its imaginative organising committee is always looking to embrace the 21st century.
A grant has enabled the installation of Broadband on the showground for the first time, with a network of mini fibre-optic cabinets providing a satellite connection for the day, overcoming the local area’s lack of reliable internet.
“Traders need it for their card machine transactions and it will benefit their customers too,” Glenys adds.
Because of the three-year gap, Alan anticipates huge crowds will return this year, particularly if the weather is fine.
“On a good day we can have 20,000 people through the gates and, if the sun shines, I think we could beat that. It could be a record year!
“We encourage visitors to buy advance e-tickets to save money and avoid queuing on show day.
Please see www.burwartonshow.co.uk for details.”