Glendale Show is the best event baaa none

Sheep judging at Glendale Show.
Sheep judging at Glendale Show.

Glendale Show is going back to its shepherding roots this year, with thousands of visitors expected to flock to the weekend event.

For the first time in its long history, the Bank Holiday Monday show is having a theme, which will celebrate the Chinese Year of the Sheep.

Judging one of the cake classes.

Judging one of the cake classes.

From donkeys to dahlias, and from equine fancy dress to knitting, there’ll be no escaping the sheep theme.

Glendale Agricultural Society’s red letter day is one for all the family, from spectacular motorbike stunts to a Wild West horse display, there is always something going on in the main ring.

In addition to this, there are marquees crammed with art, crafts, displays, floral arrangements, baking and more than 200 trade stands.

As always, one of the main highlights will be the plethora of livestock classes.

With just under 100 classes this year, organisers are expecting another record-breaking number of entries and expect to exceed the 475 head of livestock that exhibited in 2014.

New for this year will be a special prize for the best Ryland sheep.

Chief livestock steward Andrew Walton said: “We are delighted that in recent years classes of all kinds have become increasingly popular, and we are constantly looking to expand into new areas to accommodate this interest.

“We are attracting exhibitors from further afield, and as usual have a very high calibre of judges. The Glendale Show was very much built on and around livestock, and certainly now we are in the 21st century, we’re delighted that we are still firmly established as one of the leading livestock showcases in Northumberland.”

To tie in with the theme of the Year of the Sheep, the livestock section has created a new contest, the Flock Competition. This offers farmers in advance of the show the opportunity to be judged on the quality of their flock management and their ability to maximise its potential, not just the quality of an individual animal like in other classes. Judging before the show will be Charlie Walker, finalist in Farmers Weekly Sheep Farmer of the Year 2012, with the prize being presented at the show.

Another first will be classes for miniature donkeys, including best miniature stallion or gelding, best mare, best young stock donkey and the miniature donkey champion class, the winner of which will receive a Waterford Crystal perpetual trophy worth £1,000.

For the first time in the history of the GAS, the donkey show will be affiliated to the Miniature Mediterranean Donkey Association.

John Rae, donkey classes secretary, said: “Having the Glendale Show affiliated to both the Donkey Breed Society and the Miniature Mediterranean Donkey Association is a huge achievement, and speaks volumes about the dedicated and enthusiastic people who have built up the donkey classes since they were launched four years ago.”

Glendale Show is famous for the diversity of livestock on display and the main ring Grand Parade, which culminates in the crowning of the show’s Champion of Champions, will feature the winners of the cattle, sheep, horse, donkey and goat sections.

The show’s sponsors are its lifeblood, without whose generosity the show would struggle to exist. Each year the show costs in the region of £100,000 to stage and it would not happen without their support.

Show secretary Rachael Tait said: “We are very grateful to our sponsors, both our longstanding supporters and those companies getting involved for the first time.

“Sponsorship provides for many things – banners, classes, prizes and exhibits. So we thank them, for without their generosity, Glendale Show would certainly not be the scale of showcase that it is.”

This year, Carrs Billington is sponsoring the livestock points competition which has a top prize of £200. The contest allocates points from first to third place in all the sheep and cattle classes, with the exhibitor collecting the most during the show winning the money.

Northumberland National Park will also be sponsoring the Countryside Marquee and the Sheep Tales project for the first time this year.

In addition to the livestock classes, Glendale 2015 will be offering its usual wide mix of competitions, entertainment and trade stands. The equine classes, which will occupy the main ring in the morning, include showjumping, hunter, ex-racehorse, Arab, coloured horses and children’s classes, plus the children’s ridden fancy dress contest, which will be themed around the Chinese Year of the Sheep.

Also in keeping with the theme will be the Sheep Show, the New Zealand-based fun educational show that features different breeds and sheep that dance for the audience, and the Sheep Tales display.

Entertainment in the main ring and around the showground includes: The Devil’s Horsemen, a Wild West-themed equine stunt team; James Dylan Stuntworld, death-defying motorbike stunts; falconry displays; fell racing for adults and children; rural crafts; countryside and speciality food marquees; fairground; vintage machinery; chainsaw carving; children’s entertainment and live music. The show provides a stunningly picturesque and fun day out for people of all ages. Dogs are welcome and their owners can enter them in the Companion Dog Show on the day, with entries taken from noon onwards. Around 15,000 visitors and more than 200 trade stands are expected at this year’s event.

The gates open at 9am on Monday. Tickets can be bought in advance from www.glendaleshow.com