THERE will be plenty of farming fun and more on Sunday, September 17, when the annual Halesowen and Hagley Country Show takes place on Fieldhouse Lane, Romsley.
The event, organised by the Halesowen and Hagley Farmers’ Club, starts at 10am and features a range of attractions.
Among them are a horse show and jumping, craft stalls, a fun dog show, an ‘Ask the Farmer’ tent, horticultural marquees, licensed bar, food stalls, static engines, trade and charity stalls, a bouncy castle and cattle and livestock.
In the main arena will be Shire and heavy horses, bale wrapping, Hawk Eye falconry display, a side-saddle demonstration and a parade of the Albrighton and Woodland Foxhounds by kind permission of the Joint Master.
And, in a real coup for the show, there will be a special appearance from Internet sensation and professional jump jockeys Wocket Woy.
Chairman Vicky Taylor said it promised to be a fantastic event.
“We want to say a big thank you to the new club secretary Denise Hughes for pulling it altogether.
“We have worked very hard on the show this year pushing the traditional boundaries to create an all new modern country show.
“Due to fantastic sponsors from the local area we have been able to create and add new classes including show jumping and a specific Welsh showing ring, along with many other displays and demonstrations.”
The show’s origins date back to 1946 when a ploughing match was held at Newbrook Farm in Frankley.
That led to a committee being formed in March the following year comprised of members of the local National Farmers’ Union and Young Farmers’ Club to organise an annual Agricultural and Horse Show.
It was aimed at encouraging and furthering the knowledge and interest in agriculture, horticulture and horsemanship for both townsfolk and countryfolk, operating all within a 12-mile radius of Halesowen Parish Church.
The original title of the club was Halesowen and Hagley Farmers’ and Young Farmers’ Club but it was shortened to its present form in 1958.
The first two shows were held at Manor Lane, Lapal, Halesowen and competitions included ploughing, hedging, thatching, farm livestock, dressed poultry and eggs and a variety of equestrian events.
The Horse Show soon had its own sub-committee to organise its section and in 1954 the farmers’ wives formed a Ladies’ Committee which organised a Homecraft section including dressed poultry, eggs, cookery, jams, handicrafts and flowers. In 1959 the Exemption Dog Show was added.
Caged birds and goats have also featured over the years.
When the Halesowen bypass was constructed, traffic, industry and houses forced farmers to move further afield, taking the showground out towards Hagley, Clent and Belbroughton where it moved around the farms in the locality.
Vicky added: “Progress has a marked effect on all our lives and we are proud our organisation and its show has survived over the years with the ups and downs of the times.
“One of the most significant events over this time was the recurrence of Foot and Mouth disease across the country in 2001 which led to the show being cancelled that year and subsequently, the cancellation of the cattle, sheep and pig classes for future shows.
“Sadly, due to strict movement controls imposed since then it has not been viable to stage livestock competitions on show day.
“However, in recent years we have been able to ‘exhibit’ livestock in our ‘Meet the Farmer’ area to give the public an opportunity to see them close at hand.”
The ‘on farm’ competitions have remained throughout with dairy, beef and sheep herds being judged together, along with crop-growing contests, such as wheat, barley and oats. More recently garden competitions for flowers and vegetables have been introduced and have proved very popular.
In 2011 it was decided to move the main show to a Sunday to boost visitor numbers but the ploughing match remained on the Saturday to avoid clashing with another local match. Despite that the event still attracts a good level of competition and the organisers said it has got easier to find suitable venues on local members’ farms.
“Since its move to Sunday the club has had some fantastic sites in Romsley, bringing the show back to the heart of the area the club covers and enabling organisers to significantly increase the horse show capacity and improve the experience for visitors.
“The aim of our club remains the same as in 1946 and the Show now has a solid foundation of traditional competitions together with a commitment to educate all on farming and countryside matters,” said Vicky.
The club also acts as a good social organisation for its members and there is a calendar full of varied events for members so everyone can stay in touch.
Among them have been many activities to raise funds for local charities.
The club now has more than 100 members and it is not exclusive to farming – anyone with an interest in the countryside and all it involves is welcome.
Visit www.halesowenandhagleyfarmersclub.co.uk or search for ‘Halesowen and Hagley Farmers Club’ for more information.