VISITORS soaked up the cream of the region’s agriculture, arts and crafts during the two-day Cheshire County Show this week.
Thousands basked in sunshine at Tabley Showground on June 17 and 18 as the county united in celebration of the region’s rich farming heritage.
The 48-hour extravaganza was back bigger better for 2014, not only dishing out hundreds of rosettes and trophies for top breeders, but boasting scores of new attractions across more than 250 acres of fun-filled fields.
Whether getting a spectacular view of the showground from the funfair’s new Sky Swing ride, or falling into a hushed silence to watch horse whispers demonstrate their craft – 2014 had something for everybody.
Reaseheath College’s display was a popular draw – allowing visitors to meet one of the college’s 230 milking cattle.
Six-month-old Holstein calf, Breezer-Flip, appeared alongside an array of information about the college’s popular agricultural courses.
Lecturer James Bickerton said: “As a college, we show the students best practice by working closely with local farms and industries.
“Our success is reflected in the 97per cent employability or further training rate of our pupils.
“The show is a great day out, and allows young people to get an idea about careers in agriculture.”
In the cattle tent, old hands and future farmers alike were displaying the best of the region’s breeds.
25-year-old Sam Walton, of Weaver dairy House Farm in Winsford said: “There’s a great atmosphere at the show.
“It’s a real opportunity to talk to build relationships with the public and talk to people who are passionate about getting into farming.”
One such novice was Ruth Elliott-Smith of Cuddington, who scooped several awards at her first ever show – having only taken up farming last year.
“I’m completely new to it,” said Ruth. “I love to come to the show every year, but I’ve never taken part before, so I’m absolutely delighted with how it’s gone today.”
Elsewhere, chief steward of trophies, Rosemary Hague, was in charge of organising the show’s 380 plus trophies.
“The show wouldn’t exist without the good will and effort of all the volunteers,” she said.
“It’s a great commitment everybody makes.”
Daniel Moore came all the way from Northern Ireland to exhibit his silkie bantom in the poultry tent.
“I wanted to come over because it’s the biggest agricultural poultry show in the country. It’s a great day out and worth the trip,” said Daniel.
Chief poultry steward, John Tickle, added: “Over the last seven years it’s grown from 200 to just under 1,400 entries.
“It takes a lot of organising and it’s a week’s work just getting it ready.”
Outside of the breeders, enthusiasts from across Cheshire displayed their magnificent motors.
Murray Alderman of Kingsley drove to the Cheshire Show in his 1960s Renault Dauphine, which was exhibited in the classic cars display.
“It’s always an excellent and interesting show, and a great day out,” he said.
In the countryside marquee, Dr Bill Bellamy of Cheshire Active Naturalists was displaying all manner of creepy crawlies, including the beautiful indigenous moths people can find in their garden about Cheshire.
This year, the popular WI arts and crafts tent itself was a work of art, having been decorated by the WI’s arts and crafts subcommittee on the theme of the four seasons.
Subcommittee chairman, Mary Ann Dryer oversaw the creation of a central marquee display, featuring hand crafted spring lambs and life-size trees, illustrating the changing faces of Cheshire’s countryside.
Jean Harding, vice chair of the Cheshire WI federation said: “The standard this year is extremely high – as it always is.
“We’ve had so many excellent entries. Already the public have been praising us for what has been done.
“This is the first year that the arts and crafts subcommittee has decorated the marquees. We’re really pleased that it’s had such a great response.”
Elva Parkes of Hartford was awarded 1st place for her springtime themed watercolour of magnolias She said: “I do some art teaching and I was delighted to see that three of my students have also got highly commended awards.
“Cheshire is a great show. I think the huge variety of arts and crafts is a real attraction for people.”
While Jean and her team had a hard job of whittling down the scores of entries, the public was also given a vote for the first time – casting their votes in the scarecrow competition.
It was just one of many new ideas that helped attract huge crowds to the show, which continues to go from strength to strength as the premier exhibition of Cheshire’s dedicated farmers and creative talents.