Preparations are well underway for England’s premier agricultural show with Royal visitors, amazing displays and more than 8,000 animals involved!
The Great Yorkshire Show opens its gates for the 156th Show on Tuesday 8 July – Thursday 10 July when more than 135,000 visitors are expected through the gates.
Organisers the Yorkshire Agricultural Society have an on-going plan of action for improvements to the 250 acre site on the edge of Harrogate. Last year around £500,000 was spent on new roads and extended drainage to weatherproof the 250 acre site as far as possible. The work has continued over the last 12 months with a further £100,000 committed to continue the improvements.
Nigel Pulling, Chief Executive of the Society said: We have the most modern showground in the country and the Great Yorkshire is our flagship event so we need to keep investing in the site. To put it in context, we were the first of the agricultural shows to have a permanent base – the Harrogate site was bought in 1950.
Since then numbers have increased dramatically – our attendance in 1951 was around 54,000 compared with the 135,000 or so visitors expected next month (July). Last year we put in a temporary road bridge to provide a link to the carparks, this year, in addition, we will have a footbridge, all of which should make it a bit easier for our visitors.
A unique element for the 2014 show will be the staging of the Grand Depart for the world’s most famous cycle race which comes through Harrogate the weekend immediately prior to the show (Sat 5th and Sunday 6th July).
“It’s great to have the Tour de France in Yorkshire and I am sure it will be a wonderful two days. The race will have been and gone by the time the show opens so won’t affect our visitors, but with roads being closed for the race over the weekend, there will be an impact on exhibitors, particularly those bringing animals. We have taken this into account, and are opening the showground to exhibitors a day earlier than usual, on Friday 4 July. And we will be open for them 24 hours a day over the weekend,” said Mr Pulling.
Part of the showground will also be used as carparks for visitors to Harrogate for the Grand Depart.
Mr Pulling said: We were approached by the Tour organisers and were happy to help. We have made clear from the outset that our priority has to be the Great Yorkshire Show so useage for the Grande Depart is subject to the ground conditions being appropriate.
As well as the competitive classes, the Show includes exciting ring displays, demonstrations of country skills, fashion and food shows and hundreds of stands selling everything from designer clothing to combine harvesters. This year HRH The Countess of Wessex will visit the event for the first time (Tuesday 8 July), and the following day, Wednesday 9 July, HRH The Princess Royal will be the guest of honour.