76. The Cotswold Show, Cirencester
The Cotswold Show, which takes place each year at Cirencester Park over a weekend in the middle of the English summer, has been going for over 25 years and has grown to become one of the most popular country shows in the calendar.
Attracting about 40,000 visitors over two days, The Cotswold Show is held at the ancestral seat of Lord Bathurst and it brings together countryside pursuits, family entertainment and a fun day out for all ages.
The event started in 1989 under the brand name of the Cotswold Country Fair and was dedicated to everything that went on in the countryside from traditional field sports through to farming, forestry and conservation.
Show chairman The Earl Bathurst recalls: "The first fair was held on September 23 and 24, 1989 in glorious sunshine with stewards wearing suits and bowler hats so that they could be identified.
"Nobody knew whether anybody would turn up, or how it would work out. One thing that was certain was that with the huge amount of work put in on those two days and the extremely hot weather, we were not going to wear suits and bowler hats in the coming years!
"As the years have gone past, the event has developed from a small focused fair into an all- encompassing show designed to entertain and teach people a little bit more about what goes on in the countryside at the same time as enjoying themselves.
"Running a country show is like any other commercial business, which faces an ever-growing mountain of paperwork, administration, health and safety regulations etc all of which needs to be carefully monitored and managed."
Much of the workload before the show is done by the show director, Mrs Claudia Wilson, who is helped by lots of willing helpers behind the scenes.
The 2014 Cotswold Show was held at Cirencester Park over the weekend of July 5-6. Among the many attractions were Big Pete Monster Trucks, a hugely popular attraction making a return visit, whose stunts included a vehicle ‘tug-of-war’.
The event was also the venue for the Shetland Pony Grand National, a fabulous display of pony racing over miniature steeplechases fences, with 10 lucky ponies making it to The London International Horse Show at Olympia, which is held before Christmas.
Other attractions included the fabulous ‘Quack Pack’ that combined clever border collies with cheeky Indian Runner ducks to provide humorous sheepdog and duck displays. The Earl Bathurst provided the commentary on a parade of vintage and classic tractors, from the 1920s to the present day.
There were also demonstrations of working horses, gundog training and sheep shearing, giving a glimpse into rural life. Falcons thrilled crowds with flying displays, drawing squeals from onlookers.
As well as heaps of top-class entertainment, visitors to the show each year can enjoy more than 200 trade stands as well as more than 100 food and drink stands, with some fabulous street food traders.
Debbie Thompson, aged 48, from Malmesbury, a first-time visitor to the Cotswold Show in 2014, said: "It's a superb country show with an excellent food festival and great tents with a variety of stands. It's smashing fun for all ages and not too crowded. I really enjoyed it."
The 2016 Cotswold Show, the 28th to be held, is due to take place at Cirencester Park on July 2 and 3.