Devon County Show 2017 preview

The 122nd Devon County Show will take place shortly at Westpoint, Exeter on May 18, 19 and 20.

More than 90,000 visitors are expected to see some of the best livestock, taste fabulous local food and drink, experience country life and enjoy a wealth of entertainment.

Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex will spend two days at the Show in her role as President of the Devon County Agricultural Association (DCAA), which stages the county’s most popular annual event.

The Show features competition between exhibitors of dozens of different breeds of dozens of species, from livestock to heavy horses and rabbits to donkeys.

The aim, unchanged since the beginnings of pedigree breeding in the 18th-century agricultural revolution, is to produce the animal that best displays the physical traits that define its breed.

Competitors select potential show animals a few weeks after birth on the basis of how well they promise to exemplify the defining traits of their breed, and then nurture them with diet, grooming and training.

Chief Steward of Livestock and DCAA President Elect, Edward Darke, is a South Devon farmer and even after more than 50 years of showing and winning trophies, is still looking for the perfect animal.

“You’re constantly striving for the standard of excellence for a particular breed, which means you’re constantly striving for perfection. But deep down you feel there is a certain beauty in knowing that you never can breed the perfect animal.”

Visitors can walk between the pens and see these prize-winning animals standing quietly as the stockmen pamper and prepare them for their big moment when they are judged. Later, they can take in the spectacle of the grand parade of livestock being walked around the Mole Valley Farmers main arena.

In the massive Food and Drink Pavilion visitors will be able to sample from stands offering everything from artisan cheese to local gin, spelt bread to honey and charcuterie.

Celebrity chefs including Devon’s Michelin Star Chef Michael Caines, will be demonstrating their skills in the demonstration kitchen. And for those wanting to eat there and then, they will be able to tuck in at the new Olive Tree eatery within the Pavilion or enjoy tasty snacks around the showground which will be selling food to suit all tastes from caterers who sign up to supporting local producers when they apply for a catering concession.

In the Craft and Gardens feature, many of the county’s most skilled crafts people will be selling their wares while there will be demonstrations of handicrafts including lacemaking, spinning, felt making, knitting and weaving.

Show Secretary Ollie Allen added: “And, of course, there will be lots of plants and flowers! From show gardens to an allotment created by Andy Breare of BBC SW, to incredible floral art, junior competitions and thousands of flowers, this is a must-visit feature.”

The centre-piece of the Pavilion will be the ‘people’s tribute’ to the Devon men and women who died in the First World War. A stunning display will be created from more than 31,000 poppies which have been handmade by local people.

The Show will be packed with entertainment to suit the youngest to the oldest visitors and all those in between. Top class show jumping is one of the daily attractions, and thrilling scurry driving stars on the first day.

Headlining the Mole Valley Farmers main arena on Friday and Saturday are the monster trucks Big Pete and The Grim Reaper while, every day, witness big-air BMX action.

Youngsters can follow the Mole Avon ‘Wheelie Wild Trail’ around the showground and take part in activities at all 12 stops including the FarmWise Children’s Farm where they can get involved in apple pressing, bread baking and seed planting.

The whole show is family friendly and one adult can bring two children (5-15) free on Saturday, May 20.

Advance saver prices until May 17, 2017 are £18 for an adult, £16.50 for over 60s, £7.50 for a child on Thursday and Friday, £4 for each additional child on Saturday, £50 for a family. Gate prices are £21 adult, £8 child on Thursday and Friday, £4 on Saturday.

Visit www.devoncountyshow.co.uk to order.

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Notes to editors:

  • Devon County Show - May 18-20 at Westpoint, Exeter
  • This is the 122nd Show - the first was held in 1872
  • The Devon County is one of the South West's most iconic and enduring annual events attracting up to 95,000 people.
  • Ollie Allen is the Devon County Show Secretary
  • The Show is an impressive rural show window showcasing award-winning livestock, the finest food and drink and rural living at its most vibrant
  • The County Show is the flagship event of the Devon County Agricultural Association (DCAA), which has played a leading role in the development of agriculture, education and the rural economy in Devon since its formation in 1872.  
  • www.devoncountyshow.co.uk