Livestock and trade exhibitors at next month’s Great Yorkshire Show are being allowed on site earlier than usual in an attempt to avoid clashes with the Tour de France.
With cattle and sheep entries at record highs and advance tickets selling faster than last year, organisers are hoping the show’s 156th incarnation will be among the best yet.
But the first stage of the Grand Départ finishes in Harrogate on the Saturday before the start of the agricultural showpiece at the Harrogate showground on Tuesday, July 8, and a number of the town’s main roads and others elsewhere in the county will be closed over the weekend in the run up to the show. Part of the showground will also be used as car parking for visitors to the spa town for the cycling race.
Nigel Pulling, chief executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society which organises the Great Yorkshire Show, said: “It’s great to have the Tour de France in Yorkshire and I am sure it will be a wonderful two days.
“The race will have been and gone by the time the show opens so won’t affect our visitors, but with roads being closed for the race over the weekend, there will be an impact on exhibitors, particularly those bringing animals. “We have taken this into account, and are opening the showground to exhibitors a day earlier than usual, on Friday, July 5. And we will be open for them 24 hours a day over the weekend.”
Ahead of the Great Yorkshire, some £100,000 has been spent on extending roads and drainage at the 250-acre showground to further protect the site from the effects of bad weather. The investment builds on £500,000 of infrastructure improvements made ahead of last summer’s show.
Mr Pulling said: “Last year we put in a temporary road bridge to provide a link to the carparks, this year, in addition, we will have a footbridge, all of which should make it a bit easier for our visitors.”
The improvements are also designed to mitigate the impacts of heavy rainfall, after torrential conditions lead to the show being cancelled after the first day in 2012.
A total of 1,245 cattle entries have been received for the show and another 2,350 for the sheep classes - both are new record figures - while almost 33,000 tickets have been sold with a month to go; 5,000 more than the same time last year.
Bill Cowling, the show’s honorary director, said he was delighted with the numbers.
“The heart of the show is the agricultural livestock section and it’s wonderful that it is holding up so well. We are particularly delighted that the South Devon Cattle Society and the Beef Shorthorn Society have decided to hold their national competitions with us this year and for the first time at the show, we have the Tri-Nations Butchers’ Challenge between New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain.
“Sheep shearing has been a major part of the show for a number of years but this will be the first year that there has been a competition for women.”
The attendance of royal visitors is a massive boost too, he said.
“It’s a huge honour for more than just the show - for the agricultural industry and Yorkshire as a whole to have that royal backing.”
Another great spectacle
More than 8,000 animals will be displayed at the Great Yorkshire Show on July 8-10, with over 135,000 visitors expected during the three days of the event.
As well as the competitive classes, the show includes demonstrations of country skills, fashion and food shows and hundreds of stands selling everything from designer clothing to combine harvesters.
The Countess of Wessex is due to attend the show on the Tuesday and Princess Anne on the Wednesday.
Tickets bought in advance cost £22 for adults, £21 concessions, £9 children aged five to 18 and £56 for a family of two adults and up to three children. Visit www.greatyorkshireshow.co.uk