The Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show is to become a two day show!

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North Dorset’s annual agricultural Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show is a beacon in the local calendar, and has traditionally been a single day event on the third Wednesday of August. The decision has now been taken by the Gillingham & Shaftesbury Agricultural Society that the show will now run over two days – on Wednesday 16th AND Thursday 17th August in 2023.

Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show Grand Parade
Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show Grand Parade | Image: Courtenay HItchcock

Giles Simpson, Show Chairman, local farmer and agronomist said: “Despite the challenges of an incredibly dry and hot summer, the Show was a huge success this year. However, running a one day Show is a risk and bringing all of this together for a single day is costly – more so if it rains on that day! The two-day Show will see us take the Show to a new and even more exciting level in our region.
“Our decision to make the Show a two-day event will help us make it more cost-effective and even more financially viable by spreading the running costs over two days. It will also allow us to implement risk management strategies and fulfil our commitment to secure the future of this much-loved annual event.”

Showing sheep at the Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show
Texel and Poll Dorset Sheep being judged at the 2015 Gillingham & Shaftesbury Agricultural Show

The show is one of the few which is still very much a working agricultural show, and is an important date in the calendar for local farmers and those in the industry to come together for networking and business – over 85 agricultural businesses took part this year.
But the G&S Show is also a big draw for the general public and tourists: the 2022 event saw a record number of over 25,000 visitors attending on a single day, enjoying the agricultural and countryside exhibits, equestrian events, vintage machinery and cars, live bands, parachute team, motorbike stunt displays along with many other exciting attractions. The much-missed Grand Parade of winning livestock also returned this summer, to wide acclaim.

The army parachute display team landed at the G&S Show team in 2022

Like many other rural events, the Show was struck by ever increasing logistical costs and turning the greenfield Showground into a large scale event is no easy operation. Record numbers also meant demand for extra car parking, incurring additional costs by sourcing space from local landowners.

The Society plans to keep the show entry price competitive with the assurance that daily ticket prices will remain under £20 per person and early-bird discounts available for £13.

In 2022, the BV produced the first official G&S Show magazine, including not only details of the show but also VERY serious interviews with the organisers and an insiders look at showing cattle, driving a steam engine and organising the equestrian events at the show. Ever wondered what makes a prize-winning egg? Or a champion rabbit? So did we, so we asked the judges. Click below to have a flick through!

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