Action from the showfield
Action from the showfield

This weekend sees the 150th anniversary of the first Bowes Show which was held on September 21, 1869 in a field behind the Unicorn Inn. The show’s general secretary, Liz Redfern, says it will be a great day out

ALTHOUGH it is 150 years old, the show being held this Saturday (September 14) is only the 132nd Bowes show.

There have been two world wars, foot and mouth epidemics, and dare we say, bad weather which have prevented the show going ahead. But each time the show bounces back.

Preparations for this year’s event are well underway and the show committee is working hard to ensure a fun filled day for everyone who comes to the show field at Holme Farm, in Gilmonby.

There is plenty to see – cattle, sheep, horses and donkeys, along with the huge industrial tent filled with mouth-watering cakes, biscuits, jams and preserves plus the popular spirit-based liqueurs. Who wouldn’t want to judge that class? The photography class is always well subscribed along with flowers, veg, handwriting, handicrafts, arts and crafts, and lots of classes for the children. As always there is a fun dog show – entries taken on the day.

The most exciting new class this year is the tallest sunflower. Competition is running high with people eager to know how others are doing. Everyone should bring their sunflowers as there are additional prizes including the biggest disaster. The next challenge will be for the growers to get their plants to the showground where they will be displayed in the industrial marquee.

There are trade stands and the craft tent will be bulging with stalls to tempt you to stop and browse and maybe buy a few treats or even an early Christmas present.

There will be classes for vintage tractors and once again a traction engine will be coming. It is always a great sight to see, especially as part of the tractor parade.

This year the show is very excited to be hosting a dog agility display by Tarny and Lou Dog Agility and some of the group’s members. Many of the demonstrators have competed at Crufts, so the standard will be high. Apart from performing and showing what their amazing dogs can do there will be an opportunity for people and their dogs to have a go, under supervision of course.

Also, back by popular demand is the terrier racing. This was great fun last year, and many people asked for it to return. There will be children’s games, Punch and Judy, the famous duck race, a treasure hunt and tug of war.

The Teesdale Mercury reported in 1869 that the first show held a “sumptuous” lunch in the Unicorn.”

It’s not in the Unicorn but we have new caterers who are promising a wide ranging “sumptuous” menu in the catering tent, open to all, and from catering vans on the field. If you fancy a sit down in the afternoon why not try a hot cuppa and slice of cake? The show bar will be open from 11am if you want something stronger.

Chairman Malcolm Wood says the show relies on the goodwill and hard work of many people, some come just for the day to help while others are planning and preparing for the show all year round. Without them there would be no show but more importantly without the competitors and the public it would be pointless putting on the event. Let’s hope for a bright sunny day with a huge crowd from near and far. Everyone is welcome.