All eyes will be on Harrogate this week as the Great Yorkshire Show gets underway.
The annual summer farming showcase, now the biggest in England, will attract some 110,000 people over Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with entry levels being some of the highest in the show’s history.
Final preparations are now underway, with organisers hoping that the inclement weather seen in recent weeks stays away from Harrogate and keeps the showground dry.
Bill Cowling, show director, told the Yorkshire Post the main preparatory work was now complete and that the focus was now on what the elements were likely to bring.
“At the moment the ground is dry and when it does rain it evaporates fairly quickly. But then just look what happened in Newcastle last Friday.
“But the weather is difficult to predict, the last two weeks have just been absolute madness.
“But we are in preparation mode as ever.”
Organisers have also announced that the number of group bookings is at an all-time high.
Mr Cowling: “These days more and more people book online, so numbers go up year on year, but what’s been noticeable this time is that we’ve had more people booking as groups , and from far and wide.
“We have had applications from Northern Ireland, down to Cornwall and of course Scotland, too.”
Groups are defined as 15 people or more.
“These visitors often come by coach so that reduces the carbon footprint, which is good news,” added Mr Cowling. “This is one of the most difficult economic times in living memory so I see it as a huge vote of confidence that so many people have committed their hard-earned cash to coming along.”
To date, group bookings total £37,500 compared with last year’s figure of £35,200, an increase of seven per cent.
Entry levels in the competitive classes are the second highest in the Great Yorkshire Show’s history, with cattle, sheep, horses and pigs set to travel to the showground this week.
“Entries have been good and the trade stands are filling up nicely,” Mr Cowling said.
“In the last decade or so we have really seen a broadening out of the catchment area from which people come to compete.
“We now truly are a national event.”
One of the big changes this year will be the unveiling of the new forge, which has been under construction for a number of weeks.
“The significant investment this year is the forge which will enhance the horse side of things.
“It is still being worked on but it is going to be ready for the show.”
The past few years have seen members of the Royal family regular fixtures at the Great Yorkshire Show but this year’s Jubilee celebrations mean no Royals will be at the Great Yorkshire this week.
Mr Cowling said: “There are no Royals, I understand they have something else which has attracted their attention this year but we are all looking forward to it.”