Beefing up the Southern Show

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THE 2011 Southern Agricultural Show welcomed a record number of visitors (8,000 on the Saturday alone) and organisers want to better that in this, its 98th year, and have beefed up the attractions, particularly on the Sunday.

Their efforts will be helped greatly by the news the beer tent is back! There was no tent last year, leading to an outcry, but Castletown Football Club kindly stepped up and offered to run the tent, with live music from 4pm.

Saturday, July 28, is focused on the agricultural community, and the main showing and exhibition day, giving farmers the chance to exhibit the island’s best stock and the community the chance to find out more about agricultural life.

The Supreme Champion of the show will be chosen in the Grand Parade later in the afternoon. President of Tynwald Clare Christian, herself an exhibitor of some of the finest heavy horses in the UK, will present the prizes. Judges from Wales, England and Northern Ireland will select the winners in the dairy, beef, sheep, heavy horse, light horse and harness classes and all of the fur and feather exhibits. Local expertise will be used to judge the loughtan sheep classes and all of the craft, confectionery, photography and produce.

Castletown Silver Band, and the Ellan Vannin Gymnastics Display Team will perform. The miniature goats and sheep will make a welcome comeback this year as will the farm show on the Sunday.

The programme is extended on Sunday and will include extra classes for donkeys and children’s ‘Meg’ (orphaned) lambs. Young handlers will get the chance to hone their skills for preparing a calf for showing in a new ‘field to photo’ challenge. There is a companion dog show and a fun pet show in the fur and feather tent. Motorcycle display team The Purple Helmets will put on two displays in the main tent. There will be vintage displays, a heavy horse harness demonstration, and the ever popular children’s sports later in the day. More fun can be had watching the racing of lurchers, terriers and even sheep! An arts and crafts exhibition will be held in the craft tent throughout Sunday with a variety of demonstrations and displays.

There are always many trade stands on both days with a wide variety of products The ladies from the WI have an exhibition tent and the ever popular tea tent. Caterers offer everything from coffee and donuts to carveries and pizza. The Isle of Man Farmers’ Markets and Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture have food courts offering the best of local produce to take home and enjoy.

To ease traffic congestion, a one way system running from Cross Four Ways to Alexandra Bridge will operate from 10am to 5pm on Saturday. There is plenty of free parking, but visitors are urged to make the most of public transport and a special bus connecting the local railway station with the show ground. A big incentive for not driving is the beer tent. Organisers thanked Mr and Mrs Riggall for the use of the fields.

Exhibitors in the cattle, sheep, light horse, heavy horse, harness, fur and feather, vintage and classic machinery, and dog agility/obedience classes should enter by Sunday, June 10. For all other classes, entries can be taken on the day. For all enquiries, contact the secretary, Sarah Comish phone 494497 or email sdas(at)manx.net.

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