THOUSANDS of people poured into the Great Yorkshire Showground this morning as the 161st show got under way.

Drizzle and grey clouds failed to dampen the enthusiasm of over 12,000 exhibitors who have brought 8,500 animals to the show, although pig classes had to be cancelled because of concern over an animal at another show.

The Great Yorkshire is now regarded as the leading agricultural event in the country with leading figures from the farming, fashion and entertainment world gathering for the showcase of the countryside.

More than 130,000 visitors are expected between now and Thursday. For the first time a television crew with Anita Ranni are filming the show for a two part special which is being broadcast on Channel Five on Wednesday and Thursday evening. Producers say they want to put the show on the same footing as the Chelsea Flower Show.

Show Director Charles Mills said there is a huge line up of entertainment alongside the animals with over 2,000 competitions held over the three days. "Whatever the weather it is going to be a great show," he said. 

10:30am - Crowds gather as first stage of Beef and Diary Classes take place

The Northern Echo: Thousands have turned up to watch as the Beef cattle class is underway Picture: JIM SCOTTThousands have turned up to watch as the Beef cattle class is underway Picture: JIM SCOTT

The first stages of the judging for the Beef and Dairy Classes are underway, the supreme beef cattle championship will be decided this afternoon. The commercial beef cattle class are currently resting in their pens. 

11:00am - Preparations for the Great Yorkshire Show Fashion Show

Organisers have promised a 'new look' celebrity fashion show for this year. At around 2.30pm,well known cricketer Ryan Sidebottom ITV newsreader Christine Talbot and the Yorkshire Vet Peter Wright will join a host of other popular faces at the Fashion Pavillion. 

11:10am - Farming leaders say science is the way forward to solve climate change.

The Northern Echo:

At the Great Yorkshire Show NFU President Minette Batters said they are working with scientists on  the answers to climate change and the crucial role farmers have to play but she says the government have to help.

With the revelation that Britain is aiming for zero emissions by 2040 Minette Batters said it was a seismic shift the government are looking for. “We must look to science for the answers. They are there if the government can create the right conditions for farming and science to thrive,” she said.

11:45am - High jinks as spectacular 'Mr Wilson's Second Liners' perform 

The Northern Echo: Mr Wilson's Second Liners will play throughout the day Picture: JIM SCOTTMr Wilson's Second Liners will play throughout the day Picture: JIM SCOTT

The crowd are being kept perfectly entertained as the band members twirl on the President's Lawn Bandstand. The band calls itself a 'quintessential New Orleans art form' of music. Interestingly, later in the month the band will perform at a secret location in County Durham.

12:45 - Organisers confirm bull handler taken to hospital with non-serious head injuries

Organisers said the Limousin bull handler was leaving the ring at around 9.45am, before the animal became 'spooked' and tried re-enter the ring, dragging the bull hander with him. The man was transferred to Harrogate District Hospital.

13:25 - Lunch break as thousands of show go-ers fill food stalls

Despite the shows continuing on throughout the day, many have chosen to go for their lunch. One family from Leyburn, North Yorkshire said the weather was "ideal" as they had a picnic. 

Jennifer Iveson along with husband Philip, and their young son Thomas, said: “We come here every year, the weather has been ideal actually. It’s not too wet, not too hot.

“We arrived here early door,  and we went around the food and shopping stalls, but we’ve still got to go round all of the machinery equipment.

“We have a few friends that are showing their cattle, so we’re going to have a look out for them.”

13:40 - Exhibitors say weather has not put people off 

The Northern Echo: Melanie Atkins who visits the Great Yorkshire Show each year Picture: JIM SCOTTMelanie Atkins who visits the Great Yorkshire Show each year Picture: JIM SCOTT

Despite overcast weather and drizzles of rain, stall operators and exhibitors say this has not put visitors off. Melanie Atkins, regional sales manager at Pieroth Wines, which has a stall at the show, said: “It’s been a very busy first day which is fantastic, despite little showers here and there, it's been amazing.

"It hasn’t stopped the lovely people of Yorkshire and beyond, travelling here from all over the country. It’s one of our most important events in the UK."

14:00 - Shows running a little bit behind due to 'record entries' this year

Almost 13,000 exhibitors entered this year's Great Yorkshire Show. The last time the figures had been this high was back in 2014.

Exhibitor and school teacher, Kerry Leigh Wilson, said this was her first time at the show with her Irish Draught horse 'Sonny'.

She said: “We’re just waiting for our class, but we’re running a little bit late because of the record entries this year, so Sonny is in the Irish Draught Youngstock classes so we’re just waiting for that."

14:50 - Celebrity fashion catwalk kicks off to an audience of hundreds 

As promised by show organisers, a 'new look' fashion catwalk kicked off with ITV presenter Christine Talbot hosting the show. Yorkshire-born cricketer Ryan Sidebottom, the Red Shepherdess, Lizzie Jones and Peter Wright are taking part. 

The Northern Echo: The catwalk was redesigned for the 2019 show Picture: JIM SCOTTThe catwalk was redesigned for the 2019 show Picture: JIM SCOTT

17:00 - Charles Mills show director says first day has been a success

The organiser of the Great Yorkshire Show told The Northern Echo that the first day went extremely well. 

He said: “It’s gone extremely well, we’re delighted with the footfall.

“The weather has been pretty kind to us so that’s in our favour. It’s Yorkshire, the rain certainly hasn’t dampened any spirits, when it’s rained it’s been very gentle on us and the ground is in very good condition.

“Every year we try to improve it, the simple fact is each year it’s slightly better.”

The Great Yorkshire Show continues tomorrow and Thursday.