THE oldest agricultural show in the country hopes to build on its successful history thanks to improved facilities.
Next month, Wolsingham and Wear Valley Agricultural Society will combine celebrating 251 years of staging Wolsingham Show with the official opening of its new amenities building.
The show committee built the facilities at Scotch Isle Park, which it owns, to improve the visitor experience and to generate income to reinvest in future shows.
The building will host countryside demonstrations at this year’s show, on the first weekend in September, before toilets and showers are installed to complete the project at a cost of more than £80,000.
The show committee received funding support from UK Coal, Ian Holland Leisure, the Sir James Knott Trust, Sir Tom Cowie Charitable Trust, Weardale AAP, Durham County Councillors Anita Savoury and John Shuttleworth and Wolsingham Show Ladies Committee.
Other grants are said to be in the pipeline.
David Richardson, looking forward to his first year as general secretary, said the committee aims to rent the field out for a variety of events including weddings and celebrations.
Harness racing and dog agility are already held there.
He said: “It could be a huge contribution to our funds, a lot of money has gone on the field, the road system, drainage and amenities building so it is very important for the show to grow in the future to generate as much money as possible.
“If we have a bad day weather wise and the gate is down we have to know money is coming in throughout the year.
“It is a massively important community event, as Stanhope’s is the following weekend, but also a North-East event that many people enjoy.”
Mr Richardson is confident the 235th show will attract bumper crowds with traditional classes, including the return of heavy horses, along with family entertainment.
Saturday, September 6 will be agricultural day with livestock, fur and feather, crafts, home and industrial produce, sheep dog trials and harness racing followed by country fair day on Sunday, September 7.
There will be dog contests and horticultural marquees on both days.
Other attractions include a motorbike stunt team, line dancing, parrot and falconry displays, a brass band, Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, vintage cars and tractors, a wood carver and alpaca clipping demonstrations.
A free shuttle bus will operate between Wolsingham and the showground, from 9am to 6pm each day, and a funfair will be held in the town square on the evenings of Friday, September 5; Saturday, September 6 and Monday, September 8.
Visit wolsinghamshow.co.uk for more details or tickets, which can also be bought on the gate or from many local retailers.