What's On at the Romsey Show this Year?
The Romsey Show this year falls on Saturday 10th September, Carole Varley meets with the organisers to find out what's in store...
“Show day is a time when the whole community comes together, traditionally to celebrate the end of harvest, and nowadays to enjoy a good day out with friends and family. The Romsey Show also puts the town on the map and, hopefully, draws in people from outside, who then go on to visit other attractions in the area. The buzz of excitement and expectation starts the day”, says Cathy, adding that “most of the past chairmen and presidents have commented that they particularly enjoy touring the showground in the early morning, when all the animals are being prepared.” Last year’s chairwoman Lyn Ebdon says, “It is joy to watch proud owners hosing and scrubbing their cows, or putting the final touches to what already appear to be pristine animals. From the smallest exhibits in the Fur and Feather tent to the largest of the shire horses, all get the treatment, so every animal on view has had the maximum TLC lavished on it for our appreciation.”
For Annie, who will have already starting planning next year’s show as this one gets under way, the rewards of all the hard work come simply from “knowing that everyone has enjoyed themselves and had a good day out. If that’s good enough for them, then that’s good enough for me.”
New for this year
• Alpacas, which are appearing as part of the British Alpaca Society Short Fleece Show
• Champion of champions cattle event featuring the best of the best from agricultural shows throughout the summer
- 1 20 of the best places to eat out in St Ives
- 2 Win a picnic hamper from Booths
- 3 Win a 2 night beach stay at The Beachcroft Hotel in Sussex
- 4 WIN a holiday to the Isles of Scilly worth £1000
- 5 8 secluded secret beaches in North Devon
- 6 For sale: Yorkshire's dreamiest coastal view
- 7 WIN a stay at Hornington Manor's new shepherd huts
- 8 20 of the best restaurants in Hertfordshire
- 9 Win a luxury break at The Draycott Hotel in Chelsea
- 10 10 National Garden Scheme open gardens to visit in Lancashire this summer
• Food Zone, where some of Hampshire’s top chefs will be giving cookery demonstrations and traditional bakers will explain how to make the perfect loaf. There will also be a huge array of produce on offer. For children, Radio 4 Food Programme presenter Min Raisman will demonstrate the benefits of a good diet.
“I have wonderfully fond memories of attending Romsey Show; indeed, it was the first time I was on television. As a child, it was a much looked-forward-to event that the whole family went along to, with all those fantastic animals that you can get up close and personal with. Then there was all the machinery, food, rides, collecting leaflets, generally running around, having a great time and getting home absolutely exhausted, but with a big smile on my face.”
History of the show
One of the oldest shows in the country, Romsey started life as a fat stock show, held in the town’s Market Place. According to the Lower Test Valley Archaeological Study Group, one of the first prominent landowners to put up a prize was William Sloane Stanley, of Paultons Park, who, in 1841, offered �5 for the best two acres of swedes, which showed the growing importance of the crop as cattle feed. The Romsey Agricultural Society was founded in 1843 for “the encouragement of the breeding of horses and livestock, good husbandry and skilled labour”. It merged with the Romsey Horse Show Society in 1919, when the newly-formed society held its first event at Broadlands, stately home of the Mountbatten family. The show has been held on the estate ever since.
Tickets can be brought for �10 for adults and �6 for children before the show by calling 01794 512987 or can be purchased on the day for �13 for adults and �7 for children. Concessions for over 60’s are �8 in advance or �11 on the day. For more information visit www.romseyshow.co.uk.
The Romsey Show this year falls on Saturday 10th September, Carole Varley meets with the organisers to find out what’s in store
Taking “Where town and country meet” as its motto and providing a showcase for the best of British farming, the Romsey Show says that its aim is to maintain the traditions of the countryside, while keeping up to date with developments. It also wants to entertain, and all this means that, for its some 25,000 visitors each year, the event is full of action-packed show rings, with hundreds of animals parading in their best coats, from farm animals to otters and water buffalo, lots of dogs dressed up to the canines, everything from ferrets to falcons showing us what they can do, spectacular displays, and hundreds of trade stands.
Organised by the Romsey Agricultural and Horse Show Society, a charity dedicated to the promotion of agriculture, forestry, horticulture and rural crafts as well as the breeding of horses and livestock, it has become, in the words of show secretary and principal organiser Annie Carder, “one of the events that the town is known for. For some of the participants, showing their animals is just a hobby. Others are interested in showing because it helps to promote the breed and the business,” says Annie, who comes from a farming family herself and has organised the show for the past 10 years. For her it is an all-year round, full-time job – which is not surprising considering that there are some 800 horses and donkeys, 200 cattle, 100 sheep and, for the first time this year, alpacas, all competing for a championship title and a place in the grand parade of prize-winners. Annie also keeps an eye out each year for “something new, novel and exciting for the crowds to watch” and this year the programme includes the Blazing Saddles all-girl barrel racing team, the Solent Eagles junior motorcycle display team and the Derbyshire Midshipmen Carnival band, while for families, singing nun Musical Ruth is also making her debut at the show with her magical mobile piano.
Annie is assisted in all this by three part-time helpers and, on the day, some 600 volunteers, whose jobs can include everything from parking marshal to farrier and treasurer. Volunteer press officer Cathy Anderson says that no one is too grand to help, and last year television gardener, Romsey resident and past show president Charlie Dimmock could be found helping to park the horse lorries; which all goes to show how much of a community affair it is, and many local groups, from the scouts and guides, WI and flower arrangers to specialist interest groups, such as the caged bird group and bee keepers, all attend.
“Romsey is a very friendly, but tight-knit community that is fiercely protective of its numerous traditions, which is why they survive and flourish as they do,” says Cathy.