High hopes for show turnout

Bakewell Show 2015. Action from the show jumping jump off in the centre ring on Wednesday.
Bakewell Show 2015. Action from the show jumping jump off in the centre ring on Wednesday.
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The Bakewell Show is about to get under way – and visitor numbers could be in line for a boost, organisers think.

Sales of advance tickets are up on the same period last year, a surge which may be caused by holidaymakers choosing to stay in Britain this summer in the aftermath of the EU poll result as exchange rates make trips abroad more costly.

Janet Bailey, the show’s manager, said: “We’ve sold more advance tickets so far than in the same period last year, which could be down to people being keen to organise family activities after choosing to holiday in the UK.”

Of course, bringing in a special online ticketing system has helped, too, offering a much more ‘streamlined’ experience, Janet added.

The 2016 show is the 186th outing for the ‘Little Royal’ – as the show is affectionately known – and activities get under way on Tuesday with a dedicated equestrian day.

The two official show days follow on Wednesday and Thursday.

Organisers will be hoping to keep things fresh by building on a series of improvements made last year, when the showground layout was revamped to make it easier to get around. Entertainment facilities were moved, freeing up space for more trade stands, food courts and seating for the public.

The farmers’ market, also launched in 2015, will also be making a return this year in an expanded form, and the ‘Apres Show’ – free entertainment from 6pm on Wednesday – is back too.

Janet said: “We’ve had comments from visitors in the last few years saying they’d like to stay on later into the Wednesday evening. Last year we opened one of our bars later and staged some live singing.”

This year’s main centre ring attraction will be the Royal Signals White Helmets motorcycle stunt team. Made up of 30 volunteer soldiers, the team will perform feats of balance and acrobatics.

Meanwhile the show’s first florist competition is taking place, led by floral artist Jonathan Moseley. Local flower companies are being challenged to enter a wedding-themed competition – each must display a buttonhole or corsage, a bouquet and a table arrangement.

The contest will be judged by the public, with £100 prize money and a free trade stand at Bakewell in 2017 on offer for the winner. Jonathan will also be leading workshops and putting together displays of colourful blooms.

In addition, a bigger equestrian offering is on the cards. For the first time classes will include amateur hunter qualifiers for the Royal International Horse Show, alongside the Horse of the Year qualifiers.

n Adult tickets cost £16.50 in advance or £18 on the gate. Children £5 on the gate – or they go free when an adult buys in advance. Under fives go free. Visit www.bakewellshow.org or call 01629 812736.

n Show’s food hub: P25