Traditional and modern are combined

Emmily at the Glendale Show wiht goat.
Emmily at the Glendale Show wiht goat.
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The annual Glendale Show is the foremost family and farming event in north Northumberland.

This year’s show will be the 119th, and is on Bank Holiday Monday, August 29, just outside Wooler. With the stunning backdrop of the Cheviots and access directly from the A697, the show provides a fun and informative day out for people of all ages.

To ensure the success of the show, each year teams of volunteers from the Glendale Agricultural Society create rings and pens, and lay out the avenues and areas for the attractions, tents and stands that transform a quiet pasture into a busy country showcase and meeting place.

When the Show opens Monday their efforts will have ensured a huge choice and variety of exhibits, attractions, entertainment and shopping experiences for all the family.

Show president Michael Walton said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to bring together friends from across the region and much further afield and also those visiting for the first time.

“This is a community event bringing together businesses, organisations and individuals from all walks of life. And the show is once again full with entertainment.”

What will make the 2011 year’s show a day to remember?

This year’s key attractions in the main ring bring variety and excitement.

For most people, the stars of the event will be the livestock parade – and this year this is a major milestone as it marks the return of an old favourite – the Clydesdale Horse. New and unusual animals on the parade will also include a return of the Icelandic Horse - from Etal based AC Icelandic Horse.

These tough little working ponies, originally bred in Iceland from Viking stock, are never allowed to return, once exported, to keep the native breed disease free.

Also originating from a wild and mountainous background are the Alpacas, courtesy of Barnacre Alpacas at Hartburn. Alpacas, related to the llama, were domesticated by the Inca and come from the central Andes, in South America.

However, leading off events in the show ring will be the horse and pony classes, where riders young and older present themselves and their horses. Later, the main ring will also see more extreme mounted thrills and skills – there will be welcome return of The Devil’s Horsemen, and the Jamie Squibb Motorcycle Stunt Team, whose FMX bikes are in the air more than on the ground.

A real first for the show will be a stunning Guinness-Book-of-Records World Record Attempt by the 3Sixty Bicycle Display Team.

This team of six cycling performers will show you don’t always need an engine to amaze a crowd. Ian, their leader, will attempt a 4.3m drop – bettering the current world record of 4m. This is the equivalent of cycling off the top of a two -storey house, and is guaranteed to be jaw, as well as bike, dropping!

Away from the main ring and its entertainments, there is plenty for the show’s expected 15,000 visitors to see and sample in over 200 stands – it’s a true rural showcase. Throughout the day there is entertainment from local bands which will transform part of the showfield into a mini-Glastonbury.

In the food and craft tents, local foods and produce will be on sale, food tastings and demonstrations laid on, and local trades and activities displayed, demonstrated and championed. Many of those 200 stands will be offering serious high street shopping opportunities – they say that for some things, you really only need shop once a year – at the Glendale Show.

The livestock pens are as always guaranteed to be a big draw, with many serious faces as the judging gets down to business. Sheep, cattle, dairy and goat classes all have their own followers.

Today the traditional breeds of sheep such as Blackface and Cheviots are presented alongside popular European breeds such as the Zwartbles. Andrew Walton, who is the show’s chief livestock steward, reports that sheep entries of all kinds, both accredited and unaccredited, are up this year, with a resurgence of entries from across the border.

The entries to the cattle section will be especially exciting, and the quality of entry will showcase the best of Northumberland’s finest breeding herds. Celebrities rarely intrude, but this year renowned stockman, Michael Aynsley of Wards Hill and Lee Farm, Rothbury, will make the awards.

Michael judges sheep and shearing competitions the length and breadth of the country, and the show is proud that he is their top judge in 2011.

The Horticultural and Industrial Show is another of the show’s key highlights. Run by The Glendale Horticultural and Industrial Society, this is a show within a show.

Once again, there will be hundreds of competitors entering flowers, vegetables, produce, baking and handicrafts.

The traditional is judged alongside the modern, with, for example, homemade bread loaf classes and machine made bread loaf classes.

The thousands of visitors will, as always, file reverently past all exhibits, the delightfully manicured blooms and polished collections of vegetables – not to mention the exquisitely dressed sticks, the photography, and the craftwork.

Traditional, values, and exhibits are very important to The Glendale Agricultural Society. However, this is a Show that is also very much of the 21st century.

Education is also at the heart of the society’s work, and for the first time, there will be a food education area with something for everyone in the family. This includes a dedicated children’s education area, “Cool Food Dudes”, co-ordinated by The Real Food Works.

Rachael Smith, show secretary, explains its aims: “This will add to the huge range of children’s activities and are designed to appeal to the young farmers and country lovers of the future. You will be able to make Smoothies on the Big Green Smoothie Machine, win on the Fruit Shy (they must be nuts!), grind your own flour to make a pancake, or make a work of art you can eat – and they say it’s just for the kids!”

Michael Walton concludes that the success of the show depends on the people who work for it, or sponsor it in some way.

“Our sponsors are greatly important to us, and their generous support is tremendous. This year’s main show sponsors are National Grid, COSTCO, Northumberland National Park, Lazy Grace and Civiltech – and all help to keep the standards high and the costs of entry as low as possible.

“We are very fortunate to be able to showcase our day on Lilburn Estates, and are very grateful to them for the wonderful showground.”

Although it’s in the country, as you would expect of such a forward-thinking body, modern technology is increasingly used. Classes for the show can be found online via the Society’s web site, and people can be kept fully up to date with the happenings via their Facebook Page.

Tickets are available to purchase online in advance of the day at a 10% discount at and at tourist information vendors throughout Northumberland and of course on the gate on August 29.