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The best of the SouthWest at the Devon County Show

Celebrating rural Devon and all that it provides, the Devon County Show in mid-May raises the curtain on a season of agricultural events in the southwest.
Tickets are now on sale for what is advertised as “the biggest variety show in the county calendar”. Schoolchildren, farmers, families, retirees, business folk, tourists and locals all make their annual pilgrimage to the Devon County Show which is held at Westpoint. As usual, this traditional event takes place on the fourth Thursday, Friday and Saturday in May.

History and info about the Devon County Show

has been a local tradition for over 140 years and celebrates its 25th year at the Westpoint showground in 2014. Basically the show is a big shop window for Devon’s farming community, businesses and tourism industry. It attracts around 95,000 visitors over the three-day event.

The show’s Patron is HRH the Prince of Wales, who has held the honorary position for over 12 years and has been known to attend on occasion. It is a very appropriate appointment as more than half the is actually in Devon and includes 29,000 hectares on .

Things to look forward to at the Devon County Show

Having attended many times, I have to say there is something for everyone to enjoy. Crafts, pets, farmyard animals, tractors, falconry displays, flower arranging, cars, agricultural equipment, restored steam engines, trade stands, WI competitions, archery, forestry, buggy racing, heritage breeds and plenty of food and drink will have your head spinning before you’ve even got halfway through the programme.

The highlights of the Devon County Show for me are the exciting exciting stunts and demonstrations that take place in the main arena. If you’ve never seen the dog and duck trails or a thrilling BMX freestyle display team in action, then you haven’t lived! I still talk about the first time I saw an obstacle race for JCBs. The skilled drivers had to navigate hurdles and carry glasses of water balanced on a plank of wood as well as many other impossible challenges, all against the clock! It was just amazing to watch.

The 2014 highlights are the Kangaroo Kids, Matt Coulter and son Sam, who perform thrilling aerobatics on quad bikes. Look out also for Savage Skills, the UK’s leading freestyle mountain bike stunt team.

In the past, the Diggerland Dancing Diggers Stunt Team performed their gravity-defying routine along with hair-raising stunts by the BMX Extreme Freestyle Display Team. This year will no doubt be just as entertaining and of an equally high standard.
Devon’s big day out!

On a more traditional note, there are quite a few classes for horses, show jumping and dressage as well as a broad range of livestock classes. You will see a parade of huge and handsome farmyard animals being led docilely around the arena, hooves shining, manes and tails intricately plaited and coats a-gleaming. Whoever knew that South Devon cattle are affectionately known as “orange elephants?”

The dog show is particularly well-attended with a host of different classes. Basically everything from alpacas to pigs and from cider to honey becomes an opportunity to win a rosette at Devon’s Big Day Out.

No top event is complete without some tasty food, so head over to the refreshments tent and nab yourself some of the delicious homemade goodies. Fruit cakes, pies, pasties, rolls, crab sandwiches and more are available and there is a happy babble of chatter from the communal tables arranged inside the huge marquee.

If you fancy taking some great Devon fare home with you, there are stands around the showground selling cheese, homemade fudge, Devon cider, eggs and dairy products, sausages, wine, honey, jam, meat, pickles and pudds. Go on – treat yourself!

Have you ever been to the Devon County Show? Do you think our article did it justice? Let us know what we missed and perhaps tell other visitors what the highlights were for you!

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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