Crowle Show: How organisers are reflecting the 'proud historic' town in the 125-year-old show

The Isle of Axholme market town of Crowle sees the return of the ever-popular Crowle Show for the first time since pandemic restrictions on Sunday, July 17 and once again the father and daughter-act of butcher and farmer David Parkin and his daughter Olivia will be at the helm of the livestock classes.

David is Howden-born and raised, where his brother Philip runs another butchery shop, and now lives in the Yorkshire/Lincolnshire border village of Eastoft, near Crowle, after having set up business in the town in 1994.

David said his involvement with Crowle Show didn’t start immediately but was prompted by his desire to bring the now 125-year old show back to its agricultural roots when he took on the return of healthy livestock classes in 1999.

“Crowle Show has always been good for attracting horses and there’s nothing wrong with them at all. We have fantastic horse classes with some being qualifiers for major horse events elsewhere, but I was a bit concerned that with Crowle and the Isle of Axholme being such a proud, historic rural area we weren’t truly reflecting that.

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    Crowle Show in 2016

    “Everyone knows that in pure farming terms it is more of an arable area than livestock farming but there are still those with beef herds and sheep flocks and we have encouraged that involvement as well as having brought about classes that brings exhibitors from far and wide.

    “All I wanted to do was to help make it a more rounded country show incorporating more about farming and over the years we’ve brought it back to just that with cattle and sheep entries joining the already healthy horse section.”

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    David’s preference as a butcher is for beef and lamb that has been grown especially for butchers like himself and as such he had some initial contacts that has previously led to Crowle Show’s cattle classes becoming more commercially minded than the pedigree world, but a new move this year looks set to grow the cattle entries even further.

    Dave Parkin, organiser of the Crowle Show

    “In the past twenty-plus years we have always attracted commercial cattle with around 50 commercials on the showground at Godnow Road.

    “This year, with the return of the show, we are introducing a native pedigree cattle section. It has partly been inspired by a few Lincoln Red breeders in the area who have expressed an interest and I’m quite keen on it.

    “We have Oliver Chapman of Louth livestock market as our judge of the new section as well as judging the sheep which attract around 100 entries. On the sheep side we have continental and native sheep that are all again commercials.

    “We also have young handlers competitions in both the sheep and cattle sections.”

    David and his daughter Olivia have organised the cattle and sheep classes between themselves for many years, but David said there is a great deal of teamwork from everyone who is part of the organisation of the show in all areas.

    “It’s certainly not all down to one or two people. There are so many who are also involved with the livestock and throughout the show.

    “The two years that Crowle Show has missed due to Covid has seen some of our mainstays call it a day and I’m now the longest serving committee member and just been made Crowle Agricultural Society show president, and we have formed a new committee, we have a great team and some fresh, new blood including a new chairperson, Jess Revis, who is already doing a fantastic job.

    “We’re not swamped with people and we can always do with more coming forward but those of us who are involved give it our best shot and have Crowle Show at our heart first and foremost.”

    David said that costs of putting on the show keep going up and that they are always grateful to the local companies who sponsor the event.

    “It costs about £10,000 to stage the show and we are very grateful to sponsors and advertisers. Insurance has gone through the roof.

    “We always used to have cancellation insurance but now, following the Covid restrictions bringing shows to a grinding halt, insurers are being very reticent to offer insurance at the price it was previously.”

    Crowle Show includes everything from a food court to main ring entertainment, crafts, homebaking, produce and flower arranging, vintage cars, vintage tractors, trade stands, a cattle parade and a champion of champions where the supreme champion is decided upon from the horse, cattle and sheep classes.

    David said that one section that will be missing this year is the poultry. “We normally have a huge poultry section but due to the extended avian flu restrictions that isn’t possible this year.”

    Crowle Show’s return will also see the fiercely but extremely friendly contested tug o’ war competition.