The Great Dorset Steam Fair


After a two year enforced break, the Great Dorset Steam Fair (GDSF) was back! Seen as the world’s leading heritage event, the spectacle covers an enormous showground – at over 600 acres it’s one of Europe’s largest outdoor event locations.
GDSF Managing Director Martin Oliver said: ‘We have all missed the Steam Fair massively these past two years and it’s wonderful to welcome everyone back to the showground.’
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. After dark they lit up to create the unmistakeable GDSF skyline.
But there were also steam tractors (for light haulage work), steam lorries (for local deliveries) and steam cars – once quite 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.
GDSF has one of the most prestigious heavy horse displays in the country, with over 100 taking part in displays each day. The fairground is the largest travelling one of its type in the UK, and is a GDSF special mix of old and new. Visitors could 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.
There were craft and food marquees, and a Great Dorset Bake-On Tent. All this plus the Wall of Death, the Grand Palace of Entertainment and seven stages of live music including Folk, Country, Blues, Rock and Chill-out.
‘What a show!’ said Martin ‘It felt amazing to be back and we thank everyone for making it such a special event. See you all 24th- 28th August 2023!’

Massive thanks to Graham at Pengelly Media for the use of his amazing images of the first day at the show. See a full album of Graham’s images on here


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