The ‘new normal’ didn’t stop the Autumn Show & Game Fair taking place at the South of England Showground last weekend with visitors enjoying the first COVID-secure agricultural show in the South East since lockdown, with tickets selling out on Sunday.
Organised by the South of England Agricultural Society, the show offered a superb programme of countryside demonstrations, displays, entertainment and shopping opportunities — all in a 150-acre outdoor event space which was deemed a ‘Good to Go’ venue by Visit England.
Crowd favourites in the main ring included Sussex Yeomanry – a specialist cavalry group who demonstrated French & British cavalry skills from the Napoleonic era, together with period uniforms, weapons, and their gorgeous horses, Huxley’s Birds of Prey display, and, of course, the classic gundog demonstrations and the ever-popular parade of the hounds.
Foodies were in their element with stalls from local and independent producers, while the Pumpkin Trail around the showground and funfair was, of course, popular with the younger visitors. The popular Animal Barn included competitions for rabbits and poultry enthusiasts along with local farmers and smallholders relishing the opportunity to engage and educate the public about their animals. The show was a true celebration of the countryside, showcasing country pursuits and traditional country skills like stick making.
As a charity, The South of England Agricultural Society put on the event to showcase and celebrate, agriculture and the countryside while raising funds towards their work in – supporting agricultural education and countryside learning – from inspiring schoolchildren to learn about the land and offering travel bursaries for people working in the farming sector, to help with funding towards agricultural research and projects. Corrie Ince, new Show Director at The South of England Agricultural Society, commented:
“Like so many other charities, it has been a tough year for us, especially as our Spring Live! and South of England Show – had to be cancelled. With this in mind, we were absolutely thrilled we could proceed with the Autumn Show and Game Fair, and it was wonderful to see visitors getting out in the fresh air with their families to enjoy the show as well as supporting and celebrating the countryside which had supported so many of them during lockdown.”
“The strict new safety policy we put in place to adhere to government guidelines was well received and respected by all our guests and I would like to thank our board of trustees, Mid Sussex District Council, the Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations, and our health and safety consultant for their advice and commitment to making this event safe for everyone in such difficult times.”
“We are now turning our attention to our final show of the year – the Winter Fair. Taking place next month, over the weekend of 21st and 22nd November, this show will be a shopper’s paradise, providing the perfect opportunity to get Christmas preparations underway whilst enjoying a festive family day out at a safe and secure venue.”
For the protection of everyone at the event, tickets for the Winter Fair 2020 are limited and must be bought online at www.seas.org.uk. Tickets cost £6.75 for adults and £5.85 for senior citizens/students (inclusive of 10% online discount until 20.11.20). Under 16s go free.