Crowds flock back as Minsterley Show makes triumphant return

Thousands descended on the village of Minsterley this weekend as one of the county's biggest agricultural shows made a triumphant return.

The crowds are back for Minsterley Show
The crowds are back for Minsterley Show

Wellies stomped, moos and baas could be heard as magnificent animals were paraded, and the delightful whiff of countryside air mixed with delicious hot dogs let the people know that the Minsterley Show was well and truly back.

The popular event at the showground in Lea Cross, near Shrewsbury, returned on Saturday after a year off due to the pandemic. And despite a wet morning and dark clouds looming above in the afternoon, the weather failed to dampen spirits as people turned out in their droves to enjoy the spectacle, and simply being together again.

The main attraction for the day was Shropshire Polo, who performed exhibition matches, while there were also the customary livestock competitions, with some of the county's best cows, sheep, and poultry on show. Visitors enjoyed watching stunning heavy horses and large cattle being walked around the main arena during the grand parade.

Robyn Hardman working hard during the Young Farmers' 24-hour shearing marathon
Walking tall: Jenny and Joseph Potter, Lorraine Roscoe with Zara Potter, Diana and Arabella Thomas
A great view of the cattle

There was also a marathon 24-hour sheep shearing session from the county's young farmers to raise money for the Midlands Air Ambulance and Cancer Research. It started at 6pm on Friday, continuing until the show closed on Saturday evening.

It is estimated beforehand that anywhere between five and eight thousand people might attend the show, which opened at 8.30am and continued until 6pm. Official numbers are to be confirmed, but the weather certainly didn't put everyone off.

Things looked a little different to the show pre-pandemic, with lots of hand sanitiser stations in place, and one-way systems in place where events were undercover in marquees.

Mask wearing was encouraged but not enforced.

Ready for the main arena
Charles Parkes, aged 4, on a Massey Ferguson
The supreme horse championships

Show chairman Neale Manning spoke to the Shropshire Star in the afternoon as things were really getting going, He said: "It was a damp start first thing in the morning, but looking now, there are a lot of people here. You can see all the queues at the trade stands and everyone seems happy.

"The trade stands seem to be doing a great bit of business, which we're really pleased about they have missed out on a lot. That's what we want to see.

"We've had a record number of entries of horses and I believe a record number of cattle.

"The only thing we haven't had this year is the dog show, but I don't thing we've done badly given the trying circumstances. We've managed to put on about 99 per cent of the normal show."

Among the proud livestock exhibitors at Minsterley Show was Evan Williams, from Caersws, with his Charolais cattle
Helen Roberts with the overall champion sheep
A Palomino horse in the main arena

The show was only officially confirmed as going ahead in June, with organisers working since March to get everything arranged with a level of flexibility due to the ever-changing coronavirus restrictions.

And their efforts were very much appreciated by visitors, including Margaret and David Thorpe, of Shrewsbury.

"We've been coming for probably 25/30 years," said Margaret.

"It was one of the events we really missed last year so we're just happy it's back. We'd have preferred the sun to be out, but it's nice to see some old faces, see the animals and enjoy an afternoon out."

Ready for the main arena
The supreme horse championships

David added: "I was quite surprised to see it so busy, given the weather and the Covid landscape, but I think people are desperate to get out and do things."

Little ones enjoyed their day out as well. Mum Megan Davies, from Telford, took her children Alfie, three, and two-year-old Maisie.

"They just love seeing the animals," she said.

"This is one of those days out where you'll probably enjoy it no matter how old you are."

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