After a two years enforced break, the Great Dorset Steam Fair (GDSF) is back until Bank Holiday Monday (29th August)! Seen as the world’s leading heritage event, the spectacle covers the enormous showground – at over 600 acres it’s one of Europe’s largest outdoor event locations.
Steam Fair Managing Director, Martin Oliver said: “We have all missed the Steam Fair massively these past two years and it will be wonderful to welcome everyone back to our Tarrant Hinton showground. You’ll struggle to see and do everything in just one day!”
If you’re visiting this weekend, here are some of the highlights that you won’t want to miss:
For so many visitors, the stars of the show are of course the majestic Showmen’s Engines, standing proudly in front of the ‘Old Time Fairground’. If you stay until dark, don’t miss them lighting up the Great Dorset Steam Fair skyline.
But the steam doesn’t stop at the Showmen’s Engines. There are steam tractors (designed for light haulage work), steam lorries (for local delivery services) and steam cars – once the thing to be seen in, with the World-famous Stanley Steamer being the Aston Martin of its day. Steam road rollers were the last steam engines to be built – some still actively working well into the 1960s, with local councils using them for road building and repairs.
The heritage sections don’t start and end with steam, however. GDSF has one of the most prestigious Heavy Horse displays in the country, with over 100 of them take part in displays each day. In the Working Area, you can also see the heavy horses working the land, farming for the days before steam.
The fairground is the largest travelling fairground of its type in the UK, and is a GDSF special mix of old and new. Take a turn on a steam-driven set of Gallopers (the most traditional of carousels) and then move on to a white-knuckle experience on an adrenaline-fuelled monster ride.
In the Craft and Food Marquees you can browse to your shopping heart’s content through local producers and makers. In the Food Hall Marquee you’ll find a fine selection of provisions; perhaps some real butcher’s sausages and pies, made with the finest prime pork?
And while you’re on a roll, don’t miss the Great Dorset Bake-On Tent; crusty bread, light sponges and perfect pastries. The Craft Marquees have the expected eclectic range of traditional country crafts. Look out for stained glass, dried flowers, handcrafted walking sticks, leather artisans, handthrown pottery and original paintings.
All this plus the Wall of Death, the Grand Palace of Entertainment (no, not Palace of Westminster … this is real freak show) and seven stages of live music including Folk, Country, Blues, Rock and Chill-out.