THE countdown is on for the region’s largest celebration of farming, food and country life as the Great Yorkshire Show opens next week.

For the first time in its history, the event at Harrogate Showground will run over four days from Tuesday.

This is to help it welcome as many visitors as possible in line with Covid restrictions and show organisers, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS), have been working closely with local authorities to ensure the event meets strict criteria to go ahead safely.

Attendance has been limited to 26,000 visitors each day and following the rise in cases due to the Delta Covid variant, further control measures have been put in place.

Opening hours have been extended so the show will now run from 8am to 6pm each day to allow visitors to arrive and leave in a more staggered way to help avoid queues.

Show Director Charles Mills said: “This will be a very special Great Yorkshire Show and one we are all so looking forward to after these difficult times.

“It will be a slightly different show to normal but we have done our best to bring you an event which will fly the flag for farming and celebrate our industry.”

Nigel Pulling, chief executive of the YAS, said: “The safety of the public, exhibitors and their animals, staff, volunteers and everyone who is part of the show is paramount.”

He added: “While the show will take on a different format this year, we still aim to deliver a high-quality event which is as near normal as possible.

“We have been encouraged by the enthusiasm and support we have received as it is seen as a symbolic step back to normality.”

The Grand Cattle Parade in the Main Ring is bound to be a major highlight of the show, while Atkinson Action Horses will be the Main Ring performers this year.

There will be a new woodland trail with demonstrations in the Forestry Section and for the first time ever, there will be demonstrations from Riding for the Disabled Association on the Thursday morning.