New organiser James Cox tells editor Laura about his plans for the county’s great agricultural country show in 2023
James Cox will be a familiar name to many in North Dorset, having run the Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show for the past four years. He has now taken on a new role as show secretary of the annual two-day Dorset County Show.
‘It’s an exciting opportunity,’ says James, ‘but in a way it feels like coming home. My family farms near Dorchester, it was our local show and I have been involved with it as a volunteer for as long as I can remember.
‘It feels appropriate to be starting the new year with a fresh look at the show – quite simply, we’re going to make it a brilliant showcase for Dorset rural life, both agriculture and countryside.’
The show may have a long history, but James is determined not to let it rest on its reputation; he is already deep in plans for 2023 and has been listening to feedback from last year’s visitors.
‘The big news this year is that we have the world’s biggest monster trucks coming to the main arena on both days of the show. We’re really proud to have secured them.
But just as important as the big attractions are the basics of the show. We’re looking at toilets, car parking, layout. We have introduced a new food and drink area which will be a large (some might say ’gurt big’) comfortable area to get something to eat, where the catering will focus on Dorset food and drink – we want people to be buying burgers from Bridport, not Bookers.
‘We’re introducing a Woodland Area for the first time, where the Dorset Axemen will be demonstrating their forestry skills, along with various carvers and woodworkers showing traditional rural crafts.
‘We’ve also increased the trading area to allow more variety – the artisan crafts will extend outside the marquee this year.
‘Of course, we’re not losing the educational farming demos in the Fabulous Food and Farming Area, and the show wouldn’t even exist without the competitions in livestock, horticulture, equestrian and homecraft. The team never forgets that at its heart it is an agricultural country show – traders and visitors alike come together for a brilliant celebration of Dorset.’
Gate prices will remain the same this year at £23, but the team has introduced new ticketing options which mean greater savings. If you purchase before the of January, the cost is just £15.
Watch the show’s social media for updates!