Show will be a right Royal occasion

Darlington and Stockton Times: SILVER SCULPTURE: Steve Medhi with his four-metre replica of the Yorkshire Man of Steel on the President's Lawn at the Great Yorkshire Showground. SILVER SCULPTURE: Steve Medhi with his four-metre replica of the Yorkshire Man of Steel on the President's Lawn at the Great Yorkshire Showground.

THE Tour de France crowds will have barely dispersed before North Yorkshire again hosts one of the biggest events of its kind.

The three-day Great Yorkshire Show opens in Harrogate next Tuesday and early estimates suggest that about 135,000 people will attend over its three days.

This year they will be mixing with Royalty, with the Countess of Wessex making her first-ever visit to the event on the opening day.

And the following day another member of the Royal family, the Princess Royal, will be at the showground, touring the event and meeting exhibitors and staff.

The show will also have a political presence, with a visit by the Secretary of State for Defra, Owen Paterson, on the Tuesday.

This year’s show, the 156th, has also attracted a record number of entries in the many livestock classes – with a total of 12,843 compared with the previous best of 12,713 in 2011.

There will also be top-class show-jumping, daredevil equestrian displays, and music on all three days provided by the Yorkshire Volunteers Band.

The event includes one of Britain’s largest cheese and dairy shows, an art show, sheep-shearing competitions, demonstrations of various country skills and a “discovery zone” for children.

On the President’s Lawn the BBC will be showcasing its World War One at Home exhibition as part of the continuing centenary commemorations.

The Lawn is also the venue for the Yorkshire Man of Steel, a four- metre high replica of a 30-metre landmark work by Sheffield sculptor Steve Mehdi which is to be erected close to the M1.

For the first time the show will also feature a fully restored narrow gauge steam locomotive, built in 1908, which once hauled coal for Harrogate Gas Works Company but was taken out of service in 1946.

The sprawling Food Hall will put the spotlight on some of the region’s finest food and drink while top chefs, including Rosemary Shrager and James Martin, will be sharing their culinary skills with visitors at the Game Cookery Theatre.

Show director Bill Cowling said: “The show is a super mix of entertainment, there’s the chance to see the very best of British farming, and it’s a wonderfully sociable day out. Support has grown year and year which is really encouraging.”

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