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I went to Devon County Show on the wrong day but it was still fantastic!

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I went to Devon County Show on the wrong day but it was still fantastic!

Devon County Show is celebrating a successful return, after three days of entertainment, livestock and shopping.

I decided to visit the Devon County Show on Sunday to see the Devon Thank You Day parade, but in true Sod's Law fashion, Sunday became the only day that it chucked it down, A LOT.

Friday and Saturday saw much better weather than Sunday, and all three days saw thousands of people flock to Westpoint to enjoy the first Devon County Show in almost two years.

The crowds on Sunday 

Covid-wise, the organisers spread more of the locations across the showground, meaning there weren’t large groups of people very close to each other and the vast majority of people were naturally socially-distanced.

The only internal areas of the show were the cattle, where everyone wore masks, so generally people felt secure in their safety at the show. There was also a Covid testing centre and drop-in vaccination centre too.


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Everything felt very ‘normal’ until you randomly spotted a volunteer in a purple tabard with COVID MARSHALL on their backs.

Walking around, there were all the big favourites, the livestock, the beer, the live music, the shopping and trade stands, the tractors and machinery on display, as well as some archery, axe-throwing and shooting practice thrown in too.

Mere Down Falconry were there to show off their birds of prey (see the video on our social media), sadly we missed the moment when one of his falcons decided it didn’t want to fly in the rain and went to sit on the edge of one of the bandstands and refused to come down.

Mere, a male kestrel, one of Mere Down Falconry's birds of prey on display 

One big thing that stood out was the Devon and Cornwall Police liveried Class tractor. I spoke to PCSO Darren England about it, and sadly it isn’t an active response vehicle that the force uses.

PCSO Darren England with the Devon and Cornwall Police tractor 

“It's more of a conversation starter”, PSCO England explained. “This one we have borrowed for the event but we are hoping we can get one to take to shows, to primary schools, to fetes etc, let the children sit in it and turn the lights on, that sort of thing.
“But we also want it to be able to show off some of the theft prevention technology that you can install in your tractors and other machinery, that will make sure criminals are put off visiting your farm.
“You can get immobilisers, small microchips that get dropped into the engine, there are loads of ways of making your machinery really unattractive to thieves.
“Once you do it and your neighbour does it, and their neighbour does it, the criminals will move on to the next area, because it's not worth it for them.
“These tractors are people’s livelihoods, we need to get the word out about what can be done by individuals to protect their property.”


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PCSO England was disappointed that the force didn’t have a response tractor - “it would be really useful in flooding or deep snow, the last bad snow we had I had to walk for miles to go and check on an elderly lady on her own when her electricity had backed up, this would have been really useful!”

A South Devon calf relaxing with mum 

In the livestock classes, there weren’t too many South Hams entrants this year, but in cattle John Tucker’s West Prawle Farm took home first place in South Devon Bull born before 1 January 2018, and first in South Devon Best Exhibitor bred Animal by an Exhibitor who is resident in Devon.

In sheep, S Chambers of higher Chilley Farm, Totnes, took Champion Male and Reserve Breed Champion in the Blue Texel classes, along with second place in Blue Texel Aged Ram; first in Blue Texel Shearling Ram; sixth in Blue Texel Ram Lamb, first place in Blue Texel Aged Ewe, having reared or is rearing lambs in 2021; fourth in Blue Texel Ewe Lamb and fourth in Blue Texel Group of Three.
You can find the full results from all the classes of the Devon County Show 2021 HERE.


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I was on the hunt for South Hams residents, and managed to track down Paul Whaley and Sue Richardson, from Frogmore, who were attending for the first time with their dog Florence. They said they were “very impressed” with the “very agricultural” show, and added that they felt comfortable when it came to Covid too.

Towards the end of the day, as it was also National Thank You Day, there was the Devon Parade, to thank those who supported our communities during the pandemic. Not only were there some Devon-based charities there, but also a nod to all of our emergency services and of course the NHS. You can see the parade enter the main ring behind the City of Exeter Pipes and Drums in the video on our social media.

Proof that people were eager to get out and about again after being in lockdown for so long was clear, with 90 percent of tickets sold in advance for this year’s show.


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Show Manager, Sam Mackenzie Green said: "It’s heartening to know that the success of this year’s show will go a long way towards offsetting the losses the Association faced in 2020 after the cancellation of the County Show. This helps to secure the future of our wonderful event for all those who love it."

But it’s not just the ticket sales that have contributed to the show’s success. The show team also managed to recruit an impressive number of trade stands, despite reservations from many when the green light for the show to go ahead was given.
“It’s been the most challenging Show we have ever had to put on”, said Richard Maunder, Chief Executive of the Devon County Agricultural Association, who has been involved with the show for some 10 years. “In all the time I have been here, it’s never been quite such a difficult sell.
“In normal circumstances, traders are queuing up to take part. But this year has been very different. Small businesses have suffered badly, people are still on furlough, staff numbers have been cut – all valid reasons for not being able to attend.
“But as a result of the incredible effort of the show team, we managed to recruit 500 trade stands for the show this year – an average number for a normal year but a splendid turnout, given the circumstances."
Commenting on the way the show worked in terms of health and safety, Sam continued: “We are so impressed with the way everyone dealt with the Covid imposed rules and regulations this year. Even on Sunday, when it was raining and people were dashing for cover, it was reassuring to see people immediately put on their masks, as if it is now second nature.”


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Organisers said: “The feedback from the public either direct, or via social media has been amazing. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has made Devon County Show 2021 possible. We’re so glad we persevered, despite the odds, and made it through.”

All in all, despite the weather, the Devon County Show 2021 was back to its old self, and it was nice to feel a bit more normal for the first time in a long time. 

More photos below 

 

Photos

I went to Devon County Show on the wrong day but it was still fantastic!
I went to Devon County Show on the wrong day but it was still fantastic!
I went to Devon County Show on the wrong day but it was still fantastic!
I went to Devon County Show on the wrong day but it was still fantastic!
I went to Devon County Show on the wrong day but it was still fantastic!
I went to Devon County Show on the wrong day but it was still fantastic!
I went to Devon County Show on the wrong day but it was still fantastic!

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