The fabulous 157th Great Yorkshire Show takes place this coming week, Tuesday 14 to Thursday 16 July, and it’s set to be a right cracker.
Around 130,000 people attend each year to see 8,000 animals, from prize-winning bulls to bunnies and chickens and international show jumpers, plus (not to be missed) the Shetland Pony Grand National.
It’s a really massive extravaganza, with demonstrations of country skills such as dry stone walling, a fantastic Food Hall stuffed with the very best and tastiest regional produce, a dedicated Great Yorkshire Show Fashion Pavilion and more than 1,200 stands showing off country wear and crafts, home wares, huge tractors and, er, other agricultural vehicles, horticultural displays, garden design and furniture, beauty products and oodles and oodles of amazing stuff to buy, much of it very reasonably priced.
I’ve come back in the past with wellies, chugs, capes, huge baskets and plenty other essential objets besides.
Icelandic sheep shearers will be competing this year, which is sure to be a highlight. Really, it’s too much to cover all on the one day, so I like to go twice, on the Tuesday as more of a working day, and then again on a Thursday afternoon, when it’s all feeling chilled and mellow – there’s no better place to be, especially if the weather is fine.
This year The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will be special guests on the first day of the Great Yorkshire Show, and – be still my beating heart – Matt Baker and Alex Jones will broadcast The One Show live from the show on Wednesday.
Fashion is a major aspect of the Great Yorkshire Show, with four catwalk shows a day playing to packed houses at the Skipton Building Society Fashion Pavilion. Charlotte Lucy is a designer based in Malton. She studied fashion design at York College and now makes stunning clothes characterised by feminine tailoring and exquisite attention to detail.
Also taking part will be Leeds-based red carpet designer James Steward Couture with a collection of statement silk dresses and cool, contemporary menswear collections plus headwear by milliner Beth Hirst, his neighbour in his Farsley studio.
Fashion students will also have their designs showcased by the gorgeous models from Morton Gledhill – The Fashion Team, with the show styled, co-ordinated and choreographed by the amazing Bernadette Gledhill. Second year fashion students at Hull College of Art and Design have created a collection inspired by the disappearance in 1926 of Agatha Christie, who was eventually discovered in what is now the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate. Students from Batley College of Art and Design and Sheffield Hallam University also be taking part on the Great Yorkshire Show catwalk. I’ve seen some of their designs and they are incredible and so clever – we are blessed with wonderful talent here in Yorkshire.
Prestigious high street brand Hobbs will also be showing its standout new autumn/winter ’15 collection, featuring fabric from Abraham Moon, the superb manufacturer based in Guiseley where it makes luxury wool fabrics. Phase Eight will show a really fabulous selection of evening dresses, and Brook Taverner, which has its headquarters in Keighley, will show off what it does best, classic men’s tailoring and smart casual wear.
Accessories designer Sarah Garbutt, a farmer’s daughter from North Yorkshire, makes wonderful Yorkshire tweed snoods and ties which are available in both classic tweed colours and in vibrant shades. She is going to be showing at the Great Yorkshire Show and at the CLA Game Fair at Harewood this year in the Rural Crafts Marquee. Check out www.sarahgarbutt.co.uk
The creativity of the Great Yorkshire Show doesn’t stop at fashion, far from it. Anthea Kitching is an accomplished agricultural photographer with her own range of products including prints, cards, coasters, mugs, jigsaws and tea towels all featuring her trademark humorous images. Anthea is also a sheep farmer at Swainby, near Northallerton, with a commercial flock and a small flock of pedigree blue-faced Leicesters. Anthea Kitching is on stand 205 on Avenue Q, behind the food hall at the Great Yorkshire Show. Visit www.antheakitching.co.uk/kitchyco
There’s lots of creative and delicious food too at the Great Yorkshire Show and the Food Hall and Game Cookery Theatre this year features Rosemary Shrager.
Run by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, the Great Yorkshire Show doesn’t make a profit, and instead any surplus is ploughed back into supporting agriculture and rural life. If you’ve never been before (what have you been doing?), it’s well worth going. Even if you’ve been every year for so long you can’t remember (like me), it’s still always surprising, entertaining and enlightening. Hope the weather holds out, but even if it doesn’t, so what? There’s lots happening under cover.
For more information see www.greatyorkshireshow.co.uk. Tickets bought on the gate costs £26 for adults, £12 for children (5-18), £64 for a family. Parking is free. Tel: 01423 541222.