ABOUT 20,000 people enjoyed Wales’ largest one-day agricultural show in Monmouth yesterday.
The Monmouthshire Show was held at the town’s showground and its acting secretary, Rose Webb, said visitors had come from as far away as Sweden.
The show hosted qualifiers for the Horse of the Year competition and a Kennel Club registered event in its afternoon dog show, which had more than 1,000 entries.
Robert Dewar, of Herefordshire-based Golden Valley llama trekking, said of his third visit to the show: “It is very good. It is appealing because it is a county show in a genuine agricultural area and the people genuinely get it. They are interested and it works well.”
While senior steward Margaret Spencer said that about 60 competition winners would be picking up their prizes from about 2pm after they were declared.
And the secretary of state for Wales, Stephen Crabb, said displays like yesterday’s showed the importance of agriculture to the Welsh economy.
“We know when farming does well, the Welsh economy is doing well too,” he added. “It is a great show.”
Mr Crabb attended the show with Monmouth MP David Davies, before attending a Nato-themed Welsh business event in London with the first minister.
The show’s horse competitions alone had 742 individual entries from more than 500 competitors from as far away as the Isle of Man and Scotland.
And in its horticultural section, there were 278 different entries and judges Mark Ashton, from Port Talbot, and Mel Saunders, from Tondu and a member of the National Vegetable Society, said some of the best entries were of a professional standard.
Mr Ashton, who is a senior member of the National Dahlia Society, said the silver medal winner from Ledbury competitor would have been in the running for a gold medal if it had been prepared by a professional. In agricultural shows, only professionals can win gold medals, he said.
And another winner, Paul Gardner from PJ Plants in Hereford, took the overall first prize for horticulture for his national collection of sarracenias. He said he was “up against it” but got to the showground at 6am to set up his display.
The show, which started over 160 years ago and is always held on the last Thursday of August, has been staged at the showground for the last eight years, after previously being held in the town’s Vauxhall Fields. At the end of July sheep who are left to graze on the ground are moved off in preparation for the show.