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The launch of the 122nd Devon County Show

HRH The Countess of Wessex will spend two days at the 122nd Devon County Show next month, it was announced today (Thursday).

The Countess is President of the Devon County Agricultural Association, which stages the Devon County Show.

Show Secretary, Ollie Allen, speaking at the launch of the Show held at Southernhay House, Exeter, said Her Royal Highness was looking forward to being part of ‘this incredible celebration of what makes Devon such a wonderful place to live and work’.

“I am sure Her Royal Highness will enjoy going around the showground and will appreciate the the wealth of passion and talent working in farming, food production, horticulture, craft and country life,” she added.

Currently the showground is a hive of activity as teams erect metres of canvas to create a virtual town; while off-site exhibitors, businesses, entertainers and visitors anticipate the three busiest days in the county’s calendar.

By the end of the week the largest structure will be up; the Crafts and Gardens Pavilion is a huge 500 feet by 80 feet traditional marquee and will house a giant, poignant‘people’s memorial to the men and women of the county who died in the First World War. Some 29,000 hand-made poppies donated by local people will form part of a huge display called ‘Devon Remembers’.

The Show is also an opportunity for farmers to come together to meet the most influential people involved in agriculture today including the President of the NFU Meurig Raymond.

“One other thing about the Show which is more valuable than ever is the opportunity it provides for a scattered rural community to come together, renew old friendships, make new ones, compare notes and – this year especially – discuss what the future may hold. added Ollie.

The food and drink which originates on Devon’s farms has gained international renown and is championed by the vibrant local tourism and hospitality sector.

Deborah Clark, owner of Southernhay House in Exeter and Burgh Island, said: “At Southernhay House we eagerly anticipate the Devon County Show each year and are proud and pleased to support our heavenly county. If champagne were made in Devon, my life would be complete; nevertheless, each year I am surprised and refreshed by the utter variety and quality of produce from “the UK’s kitchen”.

“Our challenge at the launch is to source the freshest, most local, most ethically produced food we can for you. And it’s easy! Devon producers are rightly proud and eager to showcase their best. And not just seasonal producers; as owners of this Grade II* listed building, we also appreciate the passion and the sheer graft that goes into preserving our Devon heritage; big or small, landscape or built, Devon is full of culture and quirks.”

Notable for this year:
• The headline attractions in the Mole Valley Farmers’ Arena are the monster trucks ‘Big Pete and the Grim Reaper’ (Friday and Saturday), a display of a hundred years’ of farm machinery and, of course, the Grand Parade of Livestock (Friday and Saturday).
• The Show’s magnificent Food and Drink Pavilion is even bigger this year and features a new artisan cheese section and a new seating area for visitors to tuck into their shopping. Devon’s super-chef Michael Caines will be in the demonstration kitchen (Thursday and Saturday) alongside other local chefs

Farming, the countryside, and food is at the heart of the Devon County Show, which is the great curtain-raiser for the animal showing season in the South West:
• This is the fourth year of the Devon Farm Business Awards run by the Addington Fund, Devon County Agricultural Association and Stephens Scown Solicitors. Awards will be presented at a gala dinner on the Showground on the eve of the Show.
• Mole Valley Farmers will once again have a major presence to showcase their goods and services.
• There are more farming-related trade stands than last year, taking more space, including Mole Avon Trading, who are back supporting the Show this year after a few years absence.
• The cream of the region’s breeding livestock will be on display.
• There will be lots of local food and drink producers:

VIP visitors/celebrities:
• HRH The Countess of Wessex is the President of the Devon County Agricultural Association for a one-year term which started in January 2017
and will visit the Show on the first and second day
• The CLA has issued an invitation to the Min Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Angela Leadsom
• CLA President Ross Murray will visit on Thursday
• Meurig Raymond, President of the NFU will visit on Thursday
• Minette Batters, Deputy President of the NFU will visit on Friday
• Devon chef Michael Caines will be cooking in the Food and Drink Pavilion on Thursday and Saturday
• Devon Young Farmers’ will hold their annual debate on Friday

• Show attractions will also include:
o Magnificent animals of all shapes and sizes
o Delicious local food and drink
o Non-stop entertainment
o The Children’s Farm
o The Mole Avon Wheelie Wild Family Trail
o Country life and woodland area
o Top equestrian section
o Pedigree dog show
o Sheep shearing
o A shopaholics’ paradise – over 2 miles in total of avenues full of everything from a beef rib to a river rib!
o Historic steam engines, vintage vehicles and tractors
o Metalwork and shoeing forges
o BBC exhibit with live programmes
o Armed Forces
o Test your tractor driving skills at the Tractor Drive or have a go on the 4×4 wheel drive course.

And finally, but very importantly, the Show continues to offer good value for money:
• Two children per adult get free entry on Saturday
• Parking is free

For further information contact:
Anne Ashford, PR for Devon County Show: 01823 490965; press@dcshow.org

Notes to editors:
 Media interested in attending the event should apply for press accreditation badges via the Devon County Show website www.devoncountyshow.co.uk
 Approved images and further event information can be found on the website.

• Devon County Show – May 18-20 at Westpoint, Exeter
• This is the 122nd Show – the first was held in 1872
• The Devon County is one of the South West’s most iconic and enduring annual events attracting up to 95,000 people.
• The Show is an impressive rural show window showcasing award-winning livestock, the finest food and drink and rural living at its most vibrant
• The County Show is the flagship event of the Devon County Agricultural Association (DCAA), which has played a leading role in the development of agriculture, education and the rural economy in Devon since its formation in 1872.
• www.devoncountyshow.co.uk