Hospitality & Tourism

Cat brings theatrical flair to first countryside show of the rural calendar

By Andrew Diprose [email protected]

Published: March 5, 2024 | Updated: 5th March 2024

Cat Harris will be bringing some theatrical flair to Dorset’s first countryside show of the rural calendar.

The 31-year-old, who has a background in live events including working in London’s West End, is the first female secretary in the history of the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show.

Next month she’ll be putting her experience to good use at the two-day G&S Spring Countryside Show.

But while the event will boast some new additions, such as stunt clowns, traditionalists used to all the regular features need not quake in their wellies.

Cat, who is married to a farmer, Tom, and has a two-and-a-half-year-old son, said: “I’m not out to change things.

“Agriculture will still be at its core but we’re looking to innovate a few new items so that we appeal to the widest possible audience.”

At the heart of the new-look show, taking place on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st April at The Turnpike Showground, in Motcombe, will be family.

Activities and attractions have been lined up that are expected to be a hit with children and adults of all ages.

They include:

  • The aforementioned UK’s only arena comedy car act and slapstick stunt show in the main show ring on both days.
  • Joseph’s Amazing Racing Pigs featuring five rare breed pigs taking part in jumps and a fun hog hoe-down on the Saturday.
  • Lamb National on Sunday with Hardy Herwick sheep from the mountain sides of the Lake District competing by jumping over fences. Think Grand National but with sheep.
  • The Dog & Duck, not a pub, but a show featuring farmyard animals, on the Sunday. Sheepdogs will be put through their paces, not just herding sheep but also ducks, geese and even chickens.

There are also free tractor and trailer rides throughout the weekend, sponsored by Friars Moor Livestock in Sturminster Newton as well as horticultural and gardening attractions, Dorset foods and drinks and live music to celebrate the arrival of spring.

For the first time, the show is launching a photographic exhibition, inviting amateur photographers to capture the world through their lens.

The entries will be judged by North Dorset’s landscape photographer Charlie Waite who will also be giving an expert talk to share his top tips on landscape photography.

Families, schools, youth groups and care homes are also being invited to create their own scarecrow.

Cat said: “I’m really keen to make sure that show is seen as a day out for the whole family.

“I’ve had so much support from the show council and I’m really looking forward to both next month’s show and also the big Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show in August.”

Kids up to the age of 16 go free at the Spring Countryside Show. There are also savings on early bird family tickets with prices at £14 per adult, £17 on the gate.

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