Ryedale gets ready to mark 150th summer show

The rain hit attendances at Ryedale Show last year but organisers hope thousands will turn out to celebrate the show's 150th.  Pic: Simon Hulme
The rain hit attendances at Ryedale Show last year but organisers hope thousands will turn out to celebrate the show's 150th. Pic: Simon Hulme
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It will soon be upon us, the preparations are already underway, and the return of the agricultural show season promises to be a landmark one for farming communities in a particular corner of North Yorkshire.

Ryedale Show will be held for the 150th time, and for the 50th occasion at its now permanent showfield at Welburn Park in Kirkbymoorside on Tuesday, July 26.

Organisers are hoping for brighter conditions after last year’s showcase was drenched by unseasonal showers that caused attendance numbers to tumble, but either way the show promises to be extra special for the farming families who have contributed to the occasion over many years.

The show team has announced that a special 12-page commemorative brochure will be available on the day, free with the purchase of a show catalogue, which will detail highlights from the event’s long history.

A special main ring parade is sure to draw attention too. Featuring participants in period costume, agricultural machinery from the mid-19th century when the first show was held, through to machines which are shaping the future of the industry will be manoeuvred before the public.

Elsewhere on the showground there will be a memorabilia tent hosted by Ryedale Folk Museum which will display items from the show’s history, and the show’s old Coronation Trophy will be handed out once again, to be presented to an animal judged to be the 150th show’s champion of champions.

Christine Thompson, general secretary of the show, said the organising committee was excited about what was in store.

Mrs Thompson has been involved in trawling through the minutes kept of committee meetings dating back to the very first show for nuggets of interesting and newsworthy information worthy of inclusion in the celebratory brochure.

Giving an example of her findings, she said: “The show in 1875 was such a big success at a time when the committee was struggling a bit financially. There was a big turn out because it was the first year that the railway had joined all three local towns together - Kirkbymoorside, Helmsley and Pickering.”

The archives also document how, during the first show at Welburn Park after the Second World War, the judging platform collapsed in the main ring, injuring four people.

“It was in 1965 when Welburn Park was made the permanent home for the first time,” Mrs Thompson said.

“When it started off, one year it was held in the Kirkbymoorside area, then one year the Pickering and Helmsley in rotation.”

There has been the odd cancelled show over the years, most recently in 2007 because of wet weather. Since then funds have been invested in extra drainage infrastructure to ensure that occasions like last year’s damp event could go on.

Around 15,000 people usually attend the show but just over 10,000 turned out in 2015.

Mrs Thompson said: “The show costs around £100,000 to put on and we were £22,000 down on the gates.

“It made us realise how many holiday makers and visitors to the area we get along with the locals so we have changed our promotions a bit this year and have put money into getting leaflets printed to go into holiday cottages and caravan sites.”

She said although visitor numbers were down last year because of the rain, the occasion was “one of the best atmospheres for a long time”.

Although gate receipts were affected by the weather last summer, the organising committee, which itself is run as a charity, was able to support two good causes. Members recently presented £1,000 to both RABI and the Farming Community Network.