21 Jun Sunshine and showers but the Show goes on
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The hottest day of summer was followed by a day of stormy showers, but that didn’t stop the visitors coming to this year’s Lincolnshire Show, the county’s big day out.
Early estimates put total visitor figures at almost 60,000, an “outstanding result” in the face of the changing weather conditions, according to organisers. A lively social media feed helped to boost visitor interest, with the Show recording a mammoth 4 million Twitter hits.
Organisers also reported trade stand bookings up 5% on 2011, as well as an increased number of livestock and equine competition entries, with many entrants travelling from across the UK to take part.
For Showground Director Jayne Southall, it was her first year leading the team. She said: “We’ve had a fantastic Show and it’s been wonderful to see everything come together. The biggest highlight for me was seeing the smiles on the faces of everyone visiting.”
She added: “We had a big boost to visitor numbers with the wonderful sunshine on day one, and although numbers were down on Thursday, the showers seemed to do little to dampen enthusiasm and we had a steady flow of visitors arriving throughout the morning.
“The Show has proved itself once again as a major visitor attraction which helps to bring Lincolnshire’s wider visitor and tourism story to a national audience.”
Each year the Show is a big earner for the county of Lincolnshire and it is estimated that every £1 spent at the Show generates £20 in the local economy and the Show provides a major boost for local hotels and B&Bs, creating demand for 18,400 overnight stays locally.
A new initiative for this year’s Show was the Trading in New Markets marquee. Designed to celebrate the successes of those Lincolnshire companies already trading nationally and internationally, its aim is to encourage other Lincolnshire businesses to open up new export markets and take their products to a wider audience. Amongst those visiting was a group of 30 Australian farmers on a UK fact-finding mission. Their group leader, former State Wool Manager Frank Jones, said: “The Lincolnshire show was a real highlight of our trip, with a huge crowd and brilliant sunshine.”
This year’s Sports Zone had top billing in the run up to the 2012 London Games, encouraging visitors to try their hand at a huge range of Olympic and Paralympic sports and a visit from cricketing legend Alec Stewart was a crowd-pleaser. Stewart visited the Show as part of his role as sports ambassador for Clydesdale Bank, one of the main sponsors of the Lincolnshire Show, and during his visit he gave a master class to some of the county’s young cricketers.
More than a thousand young people took part in the Schools Challenge, demonstrating their understanding of food, farming and agriculture. Winners were Wragby Primary School, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar in Alford, and St Lawrence School in Horncastle.
The Hugh Bourn special trophy for the best agricultural machinery stand went to Louth Tractors. Presenting the award Show President Lord Taylor of Holbeach, said: “The display represented all that is good in Lincolnshire farming, energy, enthusiasm and technology.”
He added: “I attend many Shows throughout the country, and I know that the general standard at Lincolnshire is extremely high. Touring the Food Court and seeing the quality of produce, shows how lucky we are to live in Lincolnshire.”
In the equine rings, a busy programme saw top level competition with enthusiasts travelling from as far as Taunton in Somerset and St. Albans in Hertfordshire to enter the wide variety of pony and horse classes. Both days gave Chief Equine Steward Peter Crafts a busy schedule. He said: “I am extremely pleased and all the classes had a fantastic turnout, to a very high standard .”
Philip Hilton, horse ring controller commented on the highlights saying: “Last year’s Horse of the Year Show winner Danielle Heath has had a fantastic show, winning both Champion Hack and The Hunter challenge class, and a particular highlight for me was Marie Girdham winning the ex Racehorse challenge. She is a local girl who took time off from nursing at Lincoln County Hospital to compete at the Show. She won her class and qualified for The Royal Windsor Show.”
In the livestock lines, John Davies, the judge for the Texel sheep, was very impressed with the standard of sheep at the Show, saying: “All the sheep showed excellent attributes.” Judges were also impressed in the cattle section. The Bull class on Thursday had one of the largest number of entries and judge of the Limousin group Mr Tippetts said: “The class this year was really good, the best I have seen for a long time.”
As well as the county’s finest animals on show, there was an exciting mix of rural and family attractions, including the best of Lincolnshire produce at the massive Select Lincolnshire and Tastes of Lincolnshire Food Court which saw a big turnout, for the tastings and demonstrations. Exhibitor Simon Jones of Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese won the best Food Court stand. He said: ‘’We are a family run business since 1917 and we sell only Lincolnshire produce. We’re Lincolnshire through and through, and still in shock to win overall.’’
For many businesses around the county the Lincolnshire Show gives them the chance to showcase their products and services. Printing business Systematic of Caistor attend the show every year and Paul Bingham from the company said: “The wet and windy weather meant that business was slow in the morning on the second day but overall this year’s Show has been absolutely phenomenal for us, with some firm enquiries from large companies.”
Karen Malpass at Lincolnshire Events Centre and Lincolnshire Agricultural Society
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Maggie Taylor at Prima PR
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Lincolnshire Events Centre is a major national conferencing venue, home of the Lincolnshire Show and the groundbreaking EPIC project. Just outside the historic city of Lincoln, the Centre hosts events for 10 to 10,000 visitors on its 200 acre showground site and 3000 square metres of indoor exhibition and venue space.
Outdoor events include the flagship Lincolnshire Show, antiques fairs and horse trials, attracting over 200,000 visitors each year. Under cover, there are exhibition halls and conferencing facilities, including the recently completed EPIC centre, the second largest purpose-designed showcase for environmental technologies in the UK, it enables event organisers to reduce, monitor and offset their carbon footprint.