Nidderdale Show: Communities rally for last meet of the season

After a hard winter farming communities across the Dales have rallied, the dedication of volunteers and exhibitors ensuring a spectacular return of the Nidderdale Show.

Thousands of visitors flocked to the Nidderdale Showground today (Monday, September 24) for main ring draws including the quad-bike and motorbike stunt displays of the Adrenaline Tour and hundreds of entries showcasing the best of British farming.

Following the impact of harsh weather, including the Beast from the East, the last show of the agricultural season was all the more important for the community, said President of The Nidderdale Agricultural Society, Don Leeming.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He said: "Its an ongoing job for the community to organise the show and this year it comes after a very hard winter. We had a stretch of wet weather after this, and I know in my case our land was saturated, and left us running short of fodder. This lasted until May when we had two months of sunshine, when crops in the Dales seemed to catch up.

The Parade makes it's way down the High Street.

"Looking around the showground today everything looks superb and has been put together so well. We have seen a fantastic number of entries, from sheep, cattle and horses to our smaller categories. With it being the last show of the season we are always really lucky with the numbers we get on a wet day, but with the weather like we have today its looking fantastic.

"Today is a chance for the community to come out and enjoy a relaxing day together after what has been a stressful year."

With displays, ranging from livestock and produce to vintage tractors, the show also offered a number of trade stands and cooking demonstrations. Performances by the Summerbridge and Dacre Silver Band, and the Meltham Mills Band filled the air across the day, the sound of their trumpets and booming drums also ringing down Pateley Bridge High Street for the traditional morning parade.

The crowd cheered on Jason Smyth of the Adrenaline Tour and his stunt displays in the main ring,as he tore across the green and launched himself off a 15 foot high ramp.

It was a special day for Kevin Wilson from Blubberhouses, who took home a slew of awards at the sheep pens, including his first Interbreed Title.

He said: "I have been showing here for a very long time, around 30 to 40 years, while my family have been coming for generations. I am feeling great today, its a really special time when the show comes around normally. Its the time of the year when people are able to see their friends before winter, and at the same time awards like this are incredibly important, and can do a lot for promotion.

"Because of the winter and the Beast from the East coming around lambing time I think it did hit the condition of the sheep, but thanks to a lot of effort there was a fantastic showing this year, and everyone here deserves credit for that."

The importance of the show to local farmers was echoed by Jamie Cooper from Dacre, who claimed the Reserve Champion title in the Limousine category.

He said: "The show is the last show of the season which means a lot for everyone, for some farmers that can mean six months before they might see each other again. Its the conclusion of a hard year and the countdown to winter, but its great that we get to come out today when its looking so beautiful. Winning these awards means so much, for one it is our local show and its also a really important opportunity for farmers as a window for advertising."

Before a crowd of hundreds of people the Grand Parade in the main ring saw a stalwart of the show recognised for her decades of service. Sheila Cornfourth, whose work includes managing entries into the rabbit section, received the Personality of the Year award along with a bouquet of flowers. The award follows her being made a lifelong member of the show last year.

She said: "It really is a privilege, I was so surprised when they told me about this new award. I have been coming her since my children were in primary school, one of them is 52 and heads the poultry tent and the other is 47 now. I love the work I do her at the show and getting to enjoy this beautiful setting, it really is one of our favourite shows."

For businesses in Pateley Bridge the show is a welcome tradition, Keith Tordoff, Chairman of the Nidderdale Chamber Of Commerce highlighting the economic boost it offers alongside it serving as a showcase of the Dale's farming communities.

He said: "The show is an incredibly important part of what is at the heart of the Dales while bringing in new visitors each year,who are discovering the sights and views of the area for the first time. For businesses it will likely mean we see many of these people return, and that is all because of show day."