5:24pm Sunday 6th July 2014
TAILS wagged, ice-creams were licked and animals and families alike enjoyed the spectacle of Machen Agricultural Show on Saturday.
A record number of around 5,000 people crowded into the Mill Farm fields to see the animals, shop for rural food and gifts and enjoy stunt shows and competitions.
And although predicted rain indicated the 74th annual show could become a mud-fest, the sun brightened and by the afternoon guests had little need for wellies.
Nathan Williams, secretary of the show, said: “The stunt show went down well, and the classes are always popular.”
He said it was important shows like this one keep going: “There aren’t a lot of agricultural shows still going; I think we’re the only one in this area then you have Bedwellty and Chepstow. We need to keep them going.”
A team of 25 people plan the show, with almost a year of work going in behind the scenes before the day itself.
Two years ago the show had to be cancelled because of a dismal forecast but this year, despite a rainy start, the show went on.
Kevin Stanworth, chairman of the Machen Agricultural Show, said: “In all the years it has been going we have only had the show cancelled twice because of the weather. The show has gone from strength to strength with more trade stands, more members of the public. We try to keep it a family friendly country show.”
He said people had come from as far afield as Yorkshire, Cornwall and even Scotland to visit the show.
Stuntman ‘Jumpin Jez’ wowed the crowds with his motorbike wheelies and other tricks, although made the Argus photographer slightly nervous when he asked the audience, “How close can I get to the camera man?”
Anne Rees, 71, from Rhiwderin, came to the show with her son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. She said: “It’s the first time I have come and I’m really impressed.”
Meanwhile Phil Jones, from Whitchurch, said: “I’ve been watching Jumpin' Jez. After that, possibly I’ll have a pint in a bar.”
Trader Claire Lukins, 40, was selling homemade pies and cakes from her stall ‘Plant 2 Plate’. Based in Machen, she has come to the show for around 10 years. She said: “It has been very busy. The most popular thing today has been the rhubarb and ginger tart with double cream and homemade custard.”
There were children’s races (followed by a race for mum and dads), a ‘six legged scurry’ race where handlers ran with a dog over an obstacle course, a parade of vintage machinery and dog, horse and riding shows.
Goat owners could also enter the prestigious National Pygmy Goat Show.
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