he South of England Agricultural Society’s Autumn Show & Game Fair is set to be a wonderful celebration of all that is great about farming, food and the countryside this October.
The annual event on Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 October is the third of the four big events held every year by the Society at the South of England Centre at Ardingly, near Haywards Heath.
With more than 18,000 visitors from all over the region expected to descend on the showground, there will be attractions galore to keep everyone entertained, fed and informed.
Traditional countryside activities will be on show with hounds demonstrating their tracking skills, sheep dogs showing off their obedience and gun dogs fetching to order. There will be birds of prey, an exhibition of poultry including chickens, ducks and turkeys, archery, fly casting and the popular spectator sport of terrier racing with visitors being encouraged to enter their own pets into the events.
Also offering visitors the chance to try their hand at outdoor countryside sports will be Fletching-based Northall Clay Pigeon Club with a stand run by Dan Kerwood and his daughter, Charlotte, a two-time Commonwealth Games Ladies gun champion and Olympic London 2012 hopeful. There will be a chance for beginners, including children, to have a go at shooting while serious marksmen and women can try their hands at winning the £100 prizes in the High Gun and Ladies High Gun competitions. This year also includes a Team Shoot Challenge for a gamekeeper, picker-up and beater.
The two-day Autumn Show will also have a colourful display of locally grown produce with the East and West Sussex Federation of WIs holding their Seasonal Sussex event to include elaborately carved pumpkins, decorations of autumnal fruits, berries and leaves, plus homemade cakes, breads, sweets and jams.
Dozens of exhibitors will be displaying their more earthy efforts in the Horticultural Show with mouth-watering fruits and vegetables and stunning flowers judged this year by National Vegetable Society judge, Mr Neil Hope.
There will be an assortment of food outlets providing warming seasonal refreshments while musical interludes will be provided by the Youth Steel Band and the Band of the Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (Sunday only). An open-air Harvest Festival Service and Commemoration of Our Forces Overseas will be held on Sunday at 9.45am with all visitors to the Autumn Show invited to participate.
For further information about the Autumn Show & Game Fair and reduced price advanced tickets go to www.autumnshow.org.uk
Gates open from 9am to 5pm each day, Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 October. Admission prices: adult £7; child under 16, £3; under five’s free; senior citizen/student £5; family ticket £17.
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