How utterly brilliant it was today to spend hours roaming the Turnpike Showground, surrounded by thousands of people simply having a great time at the biggest Agricultural Show in the area: finally the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show 2021 was back and reuniting the rural community.
It feels like a long long time – and today’s amazing turnout felt like a jubilant celebration after the last 18mths of slog.
The display rings seemed to have a permanent crowd of clapping cheering onlookers as a quad bike flew through the air, polo ponies flaunted their skill and beauty, hawks frankly showed off and heavy horses made their elegant way around. Also don’t miss the dog show – we watched a brilliant succession of dogs getting it wrong, sneaking off for the treats and generally winning the crowd over with their rubbish cheekiness. We all just knew they were perfect during practice!
The stall aisles were busy too – nowhere felt overwhelmingly packed with people, but it was lovely seeing so many small indie businesses being well supported. From hats to stunning wood turning, wrought iron gates to wellies there was something for everyone. And of course there were plentiful activities at the bigger stands, spontaneous singing with the cheery crew from Gillingham Medical Practice (yes, really…), juggling stilt walkers at the BV Dairy stand…
Plus I spent rather too long in the poultry tent – so many different breeds of chicken. And shouty ducks. Lots of fun.
And of course there’s the food areas – plentiful and varied, but be prepared, queues were LONG at lunch time; we waited till 3.30 to get ours (we opted for an amazing curry, but were genuinely spoiled for choice).
I loved the frequent water refilling stations around the Showground – they’re shown on the map, and saw lots of people using their own refillable flasks. Sadly still saw single-use plastic water bottles on sale though – would have been nice to see these gone this year, bit one step at a time.
There was, however, no litter at all. Not because there were loads of crews collecting it – everyone was simply respectful. The atmosphere was warm, fun and friendly. Oddly soothing in its safe normality after the last 18mths.
Tickets can still be bought on the gate for tomorrow – but be ready for an early start. We arrived at just after 10, and the traffic was backed up and slow moving for the last 15 minutes.
- Adult – £17
- Child (3 – 15) – £5
- UNDER 3s – FREE
- Family – £40
Dogs welcome, and there’s loads for the kids to do.