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Stackyard News Jun 06

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The Great Yorkshire Show - Something for Everyone

From international showjumping to the display by the JCB 'Dancing Diggers', and marching bands to hands-on fun for kids - there really is something for everyone at this year's Great Yorkshire Show.

Cattle parade at the 2005 Great Yorkshire show.

Cattle parade

The Great Yorkshire Show is the region's largest annual rural and farming event with thousands of animals. Cattle, ponies, rabbits, goats, horses.. the list is extensive, to say the least!

Held on the edge of the spa town of Harrogate, last year the show attracted a record breaking crowd of 134,810 visitors. Dates for the 2006 event are Tuesday 11 - Thursday 13 July.

For Bill Cowling, the Honorary Show Director it is his first year in the "top job" having been Chief Cattle Steward for the past 11 years. He commented: "The 2006 Show is on course to be one of our best ever. We have introduced several new elements, for example the Great Yorkshire Beer Trail and Family Pet Area, but the heart of the show remains the same. We are the premier show case for agriculture and country life in the North of England, indeed many of our livestock classes can be counted amongst the finest in the country. We are looking forward to a great three days when we can present the best of the best both to the industry and to general visitors."

Plans are well underway with the JCB Dancing Diggers will head the programme of events. The demonstration - rather like ballet for heavy plant machinery - takes place in the Main Ring each day, and never fails to enthrall the crowds.

All around the showground there is much to interest and entertain from mouth-watering arrays of the region's finest food to top class show jumping, from fashion shows to the pole climbing, plus dozens of demonstrations of country skills and of course the chance to see British agriculture at its best.

There are more than 8,000 competitive entries held over the three days, with competitors from around the country battling it out to take the honours in everything from honey-making to wood-turning, as well as the more traditional livestock classes and favourites such as sheep-shearing and horse-shoeing.

The equestrian section is always popular and this year will be no exception, with the new Ridings Ring hosting most of the in-hand classes such as the Shetlands, Shire horses and Mountain & Moorland ponies. In the main ring, show jumping runs over the whole three days, culminating on the Thursday with the Hornbeam Park Cock O' The North Championship.

Dazzling floral displays can be seen in the Flower Hall, while the very best produce from our dairies is presented in the Great Yorkshire Cheese and Dairy Show. This also houses the ever-popular cookery theatre, which this year follows the theme of recipes with 'Beer and Cheese'. New this year is the Great Yorkshire Beer Trail where breweries large and small from around the area will present the background to the industry as well as opportunities to sample.
Also new is the Family Pet Area where the best way of handling some of our favourite pets, including rabbits from rescue centre, Bunny Burrows in Richmond and guinea pigs, are featured. Visitors can also learn more about the important work of Pets As Therapy Dogs who can be seen on the final day.

The work of up-and-coming Yorkshire fashion designers can be seen in the culmination of the Yorkshire Fashion Idol competition. The panel of judges will choose a "Designer of the Day" and the winning outfit will be selected on the final day. Whilst in the Art Show, work by leading Yorkshire artists on the themes of agriculture and Yorkshire can be seen.

Music has a strong presence at the Great Yorkshire Show, with the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas in the Main Ring sure to prove a major attraction. The region's young musicians will be represented by pupils from a number of Yorkshire schools including Leeds Grammar School, Bedale High School and Ripon Grammar School, while the jazz and swing band, Casablanca Steps will perform in the President's Lawn Bandstand.

For the most tempting array of the finest local produce, there's the fabulous food hall. A vast range of the region's food and drink will be on display with plenty of samples and the chance to chat to the producers.

Especially for children, the Discovery Zone provides activities and demonstrations relating to rural life, highlighting the importance of food, farming and the environment under the headings Healthy Living, the Environment and the Countryside. Enabling youngsters to get 'hands-on' as they learn, it's an area not to be missed.

The Forestry area always draws the crowds, thanks to popular events such as the McCormicks Solicitors Great British Pole Climbing Championships, chainsaw carving and tree-felling competitions, as well as a Race the Chainsaw contest, pitting Forest Harvester machines against the might of man.

Visitors to the Country Pursuits area will find falconry displays by the North Yorkshire based Sion Hill Birds of Prey and Conservation Centre, Mount Grace Gundogs and a display of hounds, as well as demonstrations of fly-casting and Pakefield Ferrets.

Making a welcome return is the team from Royal Armouries. Following on from last year's success, their exhibition will include a foot combat ring and medieval-style tents housing demonstrations of armour handling and armour displays.

link Great Yorkshire Show Supports Operation Bumblebee
link The Great Yorkshire Cheese & Dairy Show
link Great Yorkshire Show: The Art of Woodcraft
link A Record Breaking Great Yorkshire Show

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