Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show – back over two days

THE Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show will be back this year, helping to reunite the rural community safely, over two days in 2021, on Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th August.

It will be the first time that the long-established one-day show has been held over two days, and will help to ensure its safe return during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The decision allows the show to spilt visitor numbers over the two days, complying with social distancing and requirements for events.

Show secretary James Cox says: “We announce this decision during these dark days of lockdown with our best intentions at heart. For more than 100 years, the show has brought together the community and celebrated the very best of the great British countryside.

“Today, we bring you hope and optimism that better days will come. If you are a visitor we will provide you with a safe and enjoyable family day out this summer.

“As a farmer we will bring back your networking event, offering you the opportunity to meet buyers, suppliers, machinery dealers and of course fellow farmers after an isolated year.

“If you are a business currently struggling during lockdown we will reopen our gates this summer and put you, the producer, in contact with the consumer.

“We are proud to play our part in the recovery of our region’s economy and will do our bit by offering businesses a discounted rate to trade at the 2021 show, not only to assist with the costs associated with a two day show but to help those businesses that have suffered over the past year.”

Before making the decision, the show organisers had looked at a number of options, evaluating how to make a safe return, while the rules were changing constantly.

“While we hope that the vaccine roll-out means normality resumes by August we as a business and charity must be prepared for all eventualities,” says James. “Therefore we have taken the only decision possible other than cancellation, one that allows us to ensure our return with or without Covid-19 restrictions and social distancing. The show will be a Covid secure and compliant event and will meet all regulations provided by government and local authorities at the time.

“The health and safety of our visitors, competitors, stewards, members and community are our highest priorities – you are the show.”

Changes put in place for this two-day event include a strict capacity plan meaning that there will be a limited number of tickets with none available to purchase on the day. Some competitive classes may unfortunately not be able to go ahead. Livestock and equine classes will be split over the two days with livestock only to attend on the day or night before their class.

There will be strict cleaning protocols throughout, fewer marquees, wider avenues, sanitising and handwashing stations. New features will include a food and drink area with picnic tipis surrounded by mouth-watering local artisan producers.

The Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show has survived world wars, recessions and, as the unpredictable British weather, says James. “We will continue to update you on planning over the coming months as we prepare for the safe and gradual reopening of the gates to the Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show.”

A limited number of Early Bird Tickets and open applications for Trade Stands will shortly be available. For further information visit www.gillinghamandshaftesburyshow.co.uk