Belford Show set to celebrate its centenary with scones and scooters

The Belford Players pose for a photograph before going on stage to entertain the visitors to the 2009 Belford Show.
The Belford Players pose for a photograph before going on stage to entertain the visitors to the 2009 Belford Show.

The 100th annual Belford Show will be held on Saturday, September 30.

Dating back to the 19th century, it is the longest standing event in the Northumberland village famous for its sense of community.

Consequently, organisers are hoping for record entries and visitor numbers to celebrate this special milestone. And with duck races, scooter mobility, giant sunflowers, fancy dress and prize-winning vegetables, it promises to be an eventful day.

Mixing the traditional elements of a rural show and new items especially for 2017, the show promises to be a great afternoon for the whole family. To mark this special anniversary, all the entry fees for the show classes have been waived and visitors will be able to see who has won the hotly-contested horticultural, industrial and school sections.

There will also be entertainment, competitions, fancy dress and refreshments.

The committee is led by president William McLaren, chairman Janet West and a group of dedicated volunteers.

Mrs West said: “We are very much looking forward to the show and to continuing this strong village tradition. It may be 100 years old but it still has a serious message: In a time of climate change and rising food prices, keeping these skills alive in an important way of allowing us to cope with the challenges of modern life too.

“We would like to thank all the judges, volunteers and entrants who help make the show such an enjoyable event.”

The morning of the show will begin with the much-loved duck race in the village burn. Once again the burn’s banks will be lined with contestants keen to see how their duck performs, particularly as this year’s winner will take away a £100 prize.

The fun will continue at the show with a new competition for owners of mobility scooters. They will have their own special agility competition to test their driving skills on show day with the best driver taking away a prize and trophy.

Show goers are also being invited to dress in period costume from any period the show has been taking place and children can come in their favourite fancy dress. There will also be modern and Victorian games for children and adults.

As usual, there will be chance to see some of the best vegetables and fruit grown in the local area. Viewers of the recent BBC documentary Land of the Giants will know just how serious an affair this can be! They can see if they agree with the judges as they wander through the potatoes, onions, beans, tomatoes and apples.

To prove that you don’t need a large garden to grow vegetables, there will also be a best in class for a potato grown in a pot. There will be both flower arranging and flower growing with classes including roses, dahlias, chrysanthemums, gladioli and sunflowers.

We are most definitely back in Bake Off season and entrants will be showing off their skills from the beloved Victoria sponge to more contemporary lemon drizzles and banana breads, as well as breads and pastries.

There will also be other food skills including egg dyeing, sweet making and preserving with jam, marmalade, chutney, curd, sloe gin and homemade wine undergoing the judges’ taste test.

Crafting is also making a comeback and the afternoon will be a showcase for a range of traditional and modern skills including spun yarn, knitting, felting and patchwork. Art classes will include handmade cards, drawing, painting and photography, which always reveals some highly talented local artists.

The show is designed to appeal to all ages and there are plenty of classes for younger entrants including friendship bracelets, Plasticine models, drawing, photography, pizza and cupcakes.

A sunflower growing competition has seen young gardeners growing their flowers from seed since March. A week before the show they will be will be measured and photographed with their grower, with the tallest taking the first prize.

Belford Show was started by village vicar, the Rev Charles Robertson, in 1884. He was the main instigator for the formation of the Floral and Horticultural Society and the first ever show was held in the ground of Belford Hall. The patrons were the village squire, George Atkinson- Clark of Belford Hall and Mr JT Leather of Middleton Hall.

There have been a few setbacks over the years, not least when the show was suspended during the First and Second World Wars, but generally efforts have been made to keep it going.

The hidden history museum is holding a special exhibition to celebrate 100 years of the show. There is still just time to enter the show as entries have to be submitted by September 27, and showing tips and entry rules can be found on the village website.

The show will be held at Belford St Mary’s C of E Middle School from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. Admission is £1 for adults, accompanied children free. Lunches are available from 12.30pm to 1.30pm with refreshments and a cake and produce stall. For more information visit https://belfordshow2017.wordpress.com