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The Cornish Steam and Country Fair celebrates Cornish culture

Walk into Stithians Showground for the Cornish Steam and Country Fair and you might as well turn back time 50 years! See vintage vehicles, working traction engines and rural skills that are more in keeping with the last century than this one! Discover what fun a visit to the Cornish Steam and Country Fair can be, and look forward to visiting this 3-day cultural event.
The Cornish Steam and Country Fair is one of those events that makes me feel glad to live in Cornwall. Held at the Stithians Showground near , this annual event takes place on three days over the third weekend in August. Packed with traditional crafts, skills and machinery from days gone by, this annual show of country pursuits is a wonderful way to appreciate our culture and heritage.

Think of sheepdog demonstrations, vintage wood sawing, heavy horses, grumbling traction engines and vintage motors on display. This is a top event for families to enjoy as well as allowing you to reminisce about things you may have experienced, seen or heard of in days gone by.

The Cornish Steam and Country Fair began in 1956 when times were certainly different post-war and particularly in the farming and fishing communities of Cornwall.

Steam power and fun fair rides

I always know when the Cornish Steam and Country Fair is due as traffic is occasionally held up by the rumbling tedious progress of old steam engines heading for the show! Altogether 50 full-size historic steam engines are on display at the Cornish Steam and Country Fair.

Proud owners stand wiping their hands on oily rags and occasionally dabbing sweat from their grease-covered foreheads as they exchange tales and look on proudly at their pride and joy. These steam engines have all been lovingly restored and despite their pungent black smoke and oily moving parts, their brass is gleaming and their paintwork spotless.

These showpieces were once the only source of power, after horsepower, which was available for heavy haulage, pumping mine shafts, ploughing fields and digging wells. You can see various different types of engines in the working area. They demonstrate how these old engines were used for powering a threshing box, driving water pumps, sawing wood or crushing stone for road-building.

Perhaps more fun is seeing them powering the old fashioned funfair rides that are also an important part of the event. You can also have a free ride on some of the engines and see miniature steam engines earning their keep.

Rural pursuits at the Cornish Steam and Country Fair

My favourite part has to be the Rural Area of the show. Keep an eye on the programme of events so you don’t miss some of the wonderful demonstrations that take place during the weekend.

Watch a dog and duck display as farmers show off their acute sheepdog skills to a T. Working horse demonstrations show why these massive shaggy-hoofed creatures were ideal for pulling drays piled high with barrels of ale which needed to be delivered from breweries to local pubs and inns.

A falconry display shows the beautiful plumage of several birds of prey, as well as their excellent eyesight and tenacity when they catch a tasty tidbit.

More things to do at Stithians Cornish Steam and Country Fair

The country fair has a huge marquee filled with tasty Cornish produce, homemade cakes and goodies as well as crafts stalls, countrified clothing and handmade items. There a whole tent dedicated to Real Ale where a selection of the finest local beers is a big attraction for ale lovers.

Vintage vehicles are also on display and include motorcycles, vintage family saloons, delivery vans and even some grand old limousines.

Finally, you don’t need to disappear off home at the end of the day. The show includes more of Cornwall’s finest talents in the form of entertainment by local comedian and plenty of live singing and country music.

Have you attended this great Cornish Steam and Country Fair at Stithians? Did it make you sentimental for the “good old days” or glad to be part of the 21st century? We’d love to hear your opinion.

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