The Canwell Agricultural Society held its first show in 1925. Since that year the Canwell Show has grown to become the region’s largest one-day agricultural show bringing in visitors and exhibitors from across the UK. The Society has had to cancel shows, firstly during the Second World War, and more recently in 2001 due to the foot and mouth crisis. A truly great English Summer’s day out, the show attracts families from both the farming community and the nearby towns and cities with its mix of livestock, horse events, live music, trade stalls, craft-food-horticultural marquees, to name just a few of the wonderful sights and sounds that delight each year
Canwell show is held in early August. My W.I. enters a display of art and craft work along with other institutes from the area. Our marquee is colourfully bedecked with bunting and has a Markets stall selling cakes and jams, a sales table, raffle and children’s games as well as the craft displays. We always have plenty of chairs, so weary people can rest and chat. One year we invited the Morris dancers to come in out of the rain and perform in the tent – so now they come in and give us a couple of dances, even if the sun is shining outside!
There is a large marquee with garden produce, (sadly declining in entries in the present day supermarket culture), cooking, preserve, flower arranging (not many entries) and children’s art work. Bee keeping is represented by a display of bees and a hands-on candle making from bees wax activity. A display of old garden and small agricultural tools gives a reminder of the past.
There are numerous large tents with stalls selling many items -food, crafts, and more, and individual stalls selling a variety of items and services. Food outlets for the hungry, ice cream (expensive), a local band playing for those that want an excuse to sit and rest.
For those in search of the traditional experience, there are a few sheep and cows, but sadly no shire horses or pigs. Animals seem to have been relegated to amusement (Sheep shearing show) or pets (rabbits, chickens). The traditional horse riding and jumping is in evidence, but also motor cycle stunt riders. Old cars and old tractors complete the traditional look. The funfair presence was roundabouts, bouncy castle and strange transparent spheres which encapsulated teenagers!
When I was young, I remember going to summer shows – shire horses, livestock and a basic funfair. Every town in the area had one, but this has mainly died out. I try to support our local show now to help preserve it.
A grand experience on a sunny summers day – I’d recommend anyone to go to their local show.