A spectacular line-up of top entertainment, and a celebration of 25 years at Westpoint showground will make the 119th Devon County Show on May 22-24 the county’s biggest day out of the year.
Show Secretary Ollie Allen said: “It’s great that we are able to celebrate 25 years at Westpoint, but it wouldn’t have happened but for the foresight and courage of the leaders of the DCAA and the Devon County Show in being prepared to look forward and invest in the future, even at a time when that future looked distinctly uncertain.
“So that’s why this year, as we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we are also looking to the future, by taking the theme “Youth and Opportunity” for the Show, and particularly for its agricultural dimension.
“Youth - for the increasing numbers of young people who are making agriculture and related rural business their career choice, and who we’re making a special effort to attract to this year’s Show.
“Opportunity - because that’s what farming and allied career opportunities offer to young people, and because many people believe that this really is an era of opportunity for farming to grow and to prosper, as food security moves ever closer to the top of our list of national priorities and as more and more people come to appreciate the value of local food and a thriving local economy.”
Headline entertainment will be provided by the Kangaroo Kids, an Australian quad bike aerobatic father and son. New this year is the World Fruit & Veg Bowls Championships, based on English Lawn Bowls but using seasonal fruit and vegetables instead of the usual plastic balls.
The match of Southernhay House, as the lunch sponsor, brings together the two sectors that make Devon such a distinctive and successful place to live and work. Devon’s produce is well known and appreciated internationally, while the hospitality sector is now one of the most respected areas of growth in the county. Deborah Clark, owner of Southernhay House in Exeter and iconic Burgh Island, said: “Every year we actively seek young candidates for work experience. Half of them will fall by the wayside. However, the half of them with brains, enthusiasm and a bit of talent are well worth the investment. “Watching and encouraging career development, spotting their areas of strength, reinforcing basic talent with training and opening their eyes to possibilities: these are some of the best moments any boss could ask for. Younger workers crave stimulation and a changing environment; the hospitality business has all of that and more as no two days are the same. It’s a great way of persuading our youth to build their home and career here in Devon."
Notable attractions include:
• New this year – launch of the Devon Farm Business Awards in association with The Addington Fund. The purpose is to celebrate excellence and innovation in Devon farming by highlighting the very best farm businesses in the county, to serve as examples, to other farmers and the rest of the world, of an industry which is on the up. Awards will be presented at a gala dinner at the Showground on the eve of the Show.
• Major Show sponsor, Mole Valley Farmers will once again be out in force, their stand and demonstration area now the focal point of a fast-growing agricultural machinery section. • The Kangaroo Kids acrobatic quad bike display in the Mole Valley Farmers’ Main Arena • Stunt BMX performers Savage Skills near the woodland area and give visitors tips.
• New this year - Wacky Nations will be at the Show inviting visitors to take part in the ‘World Fruit & Veg Bowls and ‘UK Snail Racing’ Championships.
• A new innovation - the West Country Crafts marquee has a new addition! We are working in partnership with Devon company Love Local (www.love-local.com) to promote more locally produced items. Four ‘rooms sets’ consisting of items made by local companies will be included within the Pavilion.
• The Show works in partnership with Bicton College to create two peaceful areas within the 93 acres showground – Bluebell Wood and Woodland Walk.
Farming, the countryside and food is at the heart of the County Show, which is the great curtain-raiser for the livestock and horse showing season in the South West: • British Texel Breeders are celebrating their 40th anniversary by holding their show for Southern England at Devon.
• There are more agricultural trade stands than last year
• Tesco is back exhibiting with us this year. The company is keen to talk to the farmers and to ‘fly the flag’ to promote their regional suppliers to the Show visitors • The cream of the region’s breeding livestock will be on display
• ‘Taste of the West’ is back with its food court which complements the Ales From Devon ‘Contented Cow’ feature
• Darts Farm ‘Food is Fun’ is back as is our Food & Drink Pavilion Cookery Demonstrations which will have a brand new image this year! Local company, Ashgrove Kitchens from Crediton have designed and sponsored the provision of a brand new, bespoke kitchen for the area this year. • We have extended our Devon Partners promotion (2 for 1 on Thursday and Friday) to students at The University of Exeter.
• The Devon County Agricultural Association President is Sir Eric Dancer, KCVO, CBE, JP, the Lord-Lieutenant of Devon
• HRH The Duke of Kent will visit on Friday
• Owen Patterson, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, will visit on Thursday • Meurig Raymond, new President of the NFU - will visit on Thursday
• Minette Batters, Deputy President of the NFU - will visit on Friday for the annual NFU Show Breakfast and she will be taking part as a panellist for the Devon Young Farmers’ Debate in the YFC Pavilion.
Tickets are cheaper when bought in advance. Over 60's can purchase a ticket for two for £25 to visit the Show on Thursday or Friday.
• Up to three children go free on Saturday (when accompanied by an adult).