Seasonal food, family fun and a wide range of traditional country pursuits are on offer at this year’s Autumn Show & Game Fair on 4th and 5th October at the South of England Showground in Ardingly, West Sussex, and organisers are inviting the public to come and have a go at some of the best aspects of British country life and celebrate the Autumn Harvest.
The South of England Agricultural Society has created the perfect opportunity for people to find out more about rural life in Sussex, mixed with the best family entertainment, including Harris’ vintage funfair, a children’s pumpkin trail, traditional Punch and Judy show, Bob Hogg’s geese, duck and sheep herding, the Donkey Show (on Sunday) and a multitude of rabbits, poultry and farm animals on display.
Traditional country sports will include clay pigeon shooting with Dan Kerwood & his daughter Charlotte, four times Commonwealth Gold Medalist and member of team GB in London in 2012 and Rio for 2016. Clay pigeon enthusiasts can enter the High Gun and Ladies High Gun competitions and the Team Shoot Challenge and there is also the opportunity for complete beginners to give this popular sport a go.
A new Gun Shop will be launched in association with Gunstar for the first time at this year’s show, which will form an integral part of the weekend and the Society is looking forward to welcoming some well-known gunmakers and suppliers to the show.
Dogs are well catered for at the show and the popular gundog scurry (which recognised cross-breeds can also enter), run by the British Association for Shooting & Conservation (BASC) in association with Plumpton College Game and Wildlife Management, will act as a qualifier for the BASC national competition.
Said Michelle Nudds, Chair of the Autumn Show & Game Fair Committee, “This is a very family and dog friendly show and offers a wonderful day out for all ages. We actively encourage visitors to bring their dogs along on leads to join in on the fun such as the terrier racing or Mid Downs dog agility and to gain top tips from experts including Andrew Farley of Warrenby Gundogs who will give a fascinating insight into how to get the best from your dog.”
Catch one of the country’s foremost fly fishing instructors, Brian Smart, who will join the Sussex Branch of the Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA) demonstrating fly casting techniques in the lake every day or take a break and enjoy some of the many other country life spectacles such as the packs of local hounds on display in the main arena both days.
The autumn harvest will be celebrated with a bumper crop of entries expected in the vegetable growing competition this year from giant leeks to perfect onions. Impressive vegetable displays from the National Vegetable Society and the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS) floral displays will make a popular pit stop for all green-fingered enthusiasts and mark the grand finalé of the Society’s Year of Horticulture.
The sky will be peppered with a rainbow of colours from the Brighton Kite Flyers with their wonderful collection of kites in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Known for their friendly and enthusiastic approach the team is keen to work with other kite flyers, exchange ideas and promote this fun sport to members of the public.
Equally as beautiful to some, there will be dozens of fascinating vintage agricultural machinery on display at the show – all painstakingly restored from a bygone era of farming by members of the South Eastern Vintage Agricultural Club.
Continued Michelle Nudds, “The game cookery demonstrations in the BASC Taste of Game Theatre gathered quite a crowd last year and confirmed just how versatile cooking with game can be. Shoppers seemed very keen to learn more about the health benefits of why we should eat more seasonal and local food and there will be a variety of local and specialist food & drink producers exhibiting at the show so come along and try something new!”
The First Cinque Ports Rifle Volunteers Corps of Drums will provide stirring military musical entertainment and the Society hope to welcome as many as possible at the annual Harvest service on Sunday which always provides a welcome moment to reflect on the importance of this time of year in the countryside.
Visitors to the Autumn Show & Game Fair can also find out more about becoming a member of the South of England Agricultural Society offering a host of benefits including free entry to many of the other major shows at the Showground.
For advance online booking or further information visit www.seas.org.uk
Admission: FREE parking. FREE entry for children under 5yrs. Children (5-16) £5. Senior citizens and students £8. Adults £10. Save money with an all inclusive £25 family ticket or book in advance online at www.seas.org.uk
Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th October 2014
South of England Showground, Ardingly, West Sussex, RH17 6TL
(Near Haywards Heath. Junction 10 off M23)
Open: 9am daily. Close: 5pm daily