Show chiefs felt that Countryside Live came of age this weekend, as organisers announced one of the highest figures in its 12-year history.
A total of 12,215 visitors passed through the gates of the little sister event to the Great Yorkshire Show. The attendance figure is the second highest,a tad shy of last year’s record of 12,689.
The rural extravaganza combined classes for cattle, sheep and horses with activities, demonstrations and displays ranging from horse shoeing to tug of war contests, and from show jumping to mountain biking.
Bill Cowling, show director said: “Countryside Live goes from strength to strength and this year is certainly one of the best, if not the best ever. It is a mark of the stature of Countryside Live that so many of the livestock winners will go on to achieve further successes on the winter fatstock show circuit.
“As soon as the gates opened, there was a steady flow of people coming in, and the atmosphere’s been tremendous. It’s very much a fun event, but it is also a wonderful showcase of the farming industry.”
Nigel Pulling, chief executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, said: “I have noticed this year, the feedback from visitors has been so positive, particularly from families who have had a fantastic day out and can’t praise the show enough. Families have been staying for hours and the kids have had a chance to try a lot of different things that they wouldn’t see anywhere else, so it feels like the show has come of age in that sense.
“The show cross in the main ring has been a huge success with about 70 teams. It’s really brought that part of the show into the heart of the event and that’s been a big step forward.” One of the aims of the annual autumn event is to educate people about farming.
Mr Pulling said: “I hope our visitors have learned the important role that farmers play in food production because farming affects everyone. They are doing a great job and we need everyone to understand and support them.”
The only low light involved a young female horse rider who suffered a fractured pelvis when she fell from her horse and the animal rolled on top of her, Mr Pulling said.
Next year’s Countryside Live will be a little different as the Yorkshire Agricultural Society intends to have torn down Exhibition Hall 1 - home to the event’s main ring - by next autumn, after the 2015 Great Yorkshire Show is held, and a temporary structure will be used to host some elements of next year’s event.
Mr Pulling said: “Next year’s Countryside Live will be slightly rearranged on the showground but in the next two years we will have a new exhibition hall which will allow for the expansion of events such as Countryside Live.”