ONE of the biggest agricultural, horticultural and animal events in Hampshire not only attracted a record number of visitors but also a record entry for sheep, cows and heavy horses.
The day-long Alresford Show at Tichborne Park on Saturday was, as always, a kaleidoscope of events, which began with the traditional parade of modern farm machinery, followed by the livestock parade and vintage parade of old tractors and equipment.
There was so much to see and do that it was difficult for visitors to decide what to visit first.
One popular innovation was the Woodcraft Village. Space had been made for it in the horse ring to allow plenty of room to walk around, and on show were a variety of country crafts such a hurdle making.
Another big attraction was Holly Budge, of the ‘How Many Elephants?’ campaign, who displayed a full-sized papier mache elephant in a bid to highlight the cruel trade in ivory. The conservationist told visitors that 96 African elephants are poached each day for their tusks, which means by 2025 they will be extinct in the wild.
Although there had been worries that livestock numbers would be down because some surrounding farms had reported animals with TB this summer, there was, much to the surprise of the organisers, a record number of sheep and cattle on display, and even a record number of heavy horses as this year there were 12 compared to the last show when there were only two. They are a favourite with visitors as they bring a touch of nostalgia for the days before the onset of modern machinery when they were used to plough the fields.
A wonderful display of summer flowers highlighted the horticultural show and there was also a bee and honey show and children’s cookery, and for all the younger visitors Juggling Jake provided fun entertainment.
Mill Cottage Farm animal petting and Punch and Judy also featured.
Children enjoyed the Donkey Derby and the Pony Club held a relay race, and even if you couldn’t ride there was the chance to go around the show in style in a horse-drawn carriage.
The education tent showed how well versed young people are in rural ways as on display was the work they had done for a competition set by The Country Trust, which goes into schools to teach pupils about farming and farm animals.
The winners this year were the infants section at Upham School and the pupils of Liss Junior School.
At the end of the tent the youngsters could make their own smoothies, as well as enjoy display of grain to show them where their breakfast cereal comes from.
The dog show was fun, and although it was sunny and hot the four-legged contestants showed not sign of flagging as they paraded proudly around the ring with tails wagging.
Not to be outdone, the birds of prey also attracted a large crowd eager to see these winged predators at close range.
With such a big show there was plenty to eat and drink and the emphasis, as always, was to serve produce from local farms.
The show is organised by the Arlesford and District Agricultural Society and run by volunteers who spend a lot of time first putting it together an then dismantling it.
The money they from the annual event goes to local charities, such as the boy Scouts, who sell the programmes each year, and after all the costs for the show are paid, they hope to top last year’s £38,000.