THE 162nd annual Moorgreen Country Show, held over the Bank Holiday Weekend, lived up to its billing as “a champion day out for the whole family”.
The event regularly attracts thousands of visitors — many from the Hucknall and Bulwell area — to the 40-acre showground in Watnall. Attendance on Sunday August 28 was higher than expected but a chill wind and overcast skies meant that the turnout on Monday (August 29) was down on previous years. The total for the two days was 14,000.
As a curtain-raiser this year, various events were held last Saturday. A clay pigeon shoot was followed by a Victorian steam fair, a hog roast and live entertainment.
This was the last show of Andy Marshall as its general secretary — a position he has held for 16 years. He said: “It is obviously quite an emotional occasion for me but I feel I have gone out on a high.
“It has been a very difficult and challenging time for us. With our finances depleted, we have sought new and interesting ways of making the show more appealing. I think we can say we achieved that objective this year.”
Andy said many traders with stands at the show had told him they were “very happy” with interest shown by the public. He added that there was a record entry in the guinea pig and poultry classes.
“For the first time in many years, there was a parade of cattle in the main ring — just before the magnificent shire horses took centre stage,” said Andy.
The new show secretary is Allison Pilling, of Oakerthorpe, Derbyshire, who works in local government and says she is “really keen to support the countryside”.
Full of praise for the J.C.Balls digger dance team, which performed on Sunday and Monday, Andrew said: “It is so easy to take them for granted but the precision they are able to achieve in their act is quite phenomenal.”
The horticultural displays were again a successful feature, despite an arson scare before the start of the show. A vandal tried to set fire to the marquee in which the colourful flowers were on view but it did not take hold because the large tent was made of fire-resistant material.
A trophy for cut flowers, donated by retired Dispatch chief reporter Denis Robinson in memory of his late mother, Kathleen Robinson, was won for the second time in three years by Dorothy Allsop, of Smalley in Derbyshire.
Members of the Churches Together In Hucknall, Linby and Papplewick organisation helped to run a refreshment tent where a special feature was a display to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James version of the Bible.
The show was also a chance to promote the newly-opened Engage Gifts shop at the junction of High Street and Watnall Road, Hucknall, which sells items ranging from Christian books to fairtrade food.
Engage was set up by Churches Together more than ten years ago as a way of helping the local community. Engage Gifts is not-for-profit and raises funds for the organisation’s various community schemes.
One particularly popular attraction at Moorgreen was the Polly Parrots Road Show, including contributions by an African grey named Barney. Another was Joseph Fosset’s amazing racing pigs, which had names such as Francis Bacon and Desert Porchid!
At the Wildlife Zoo display, many visitors took advantage of the chance to get up close and personal with such creatures as snakes, lizards and hissing cockroaches. Meerkats, which have been made famous by a TV commercial, were also represented.
Also to be seen was a stunning collection of birds of prey, which were flown in the main ring. Among numerous other attractions were a classic car collection, a ploughing match, a truck show and a real food hall.
Bill and Alice Goodwin, of Bulwell Hall Estate were at the show with their children, Samantha (ten) and Daniel (seven).
“This is the first time we have been to Moorgreen Show and we have been very impressed,” said Bill. “We did not realise there was so much to see.”