IT’S been the most fabulous atmosphere.”
Those were the words of one of the New Forest and Hampshire County Show’s bosses as the curtain came down on three days of top-flight family entertainment.
New chairman Chris Whitlock described the Daily Echo-backed event, held at New Park, Brockenhurst, as a huge success.
Sarah Harvey of Bashley with one-year-old Short Dexter Heifer Auburn
Tuesday’s attendance is thought to have been well up on the opening day figure recorded last year, and the rest of the show also saw massive crowds.
But organisers say that the “fun factor” is just as important as the number of people who pour through the gates.
This year’s theme was Hands On, with visitors able to try 50 different activities, ranging from milking a cow to having a go at being a TV newsreader.
Echoing comments made by many of the spectators, Mr Whitlock said: “It’s been the most fabulous atmosphere – the ambience has been first class.
“The weather has been with us right from when we started setting up nearly two months ago and we’ve also got the most amazing band of volunteers.
“One of the things I loved about the show was the Discovery Zone. It was great to see kids enjoying themselves.”
Mr Whitlock praised the skill of head groundsman Graham Pothecary. Some of the competitors taking part in the equine events, including those hoping to qualify for this year’s Horse of the Year Show, said that it was the best ground they had ridden on all year.
Yesterday’s visitors to the show included Lord de Mauley, Minister for Natural Environ-ment, whose tour of New Park included the Food and Farming section.
“It gives me a chance to talk to farmers and make sure we’ve got our finger on the pulse,” he said. “Those in the Forest farm on a smaller scale and have particular problems that are not necessarily shared by the much bigger farmers I might meet elsewhere in the country.”
Two-year-old William Gerrish from Lymington enjoys a tractor
Motorcycle stunt ace Jamie Squibb battled strong crosswinds as he performed his twice-daily show. But he still managed to loop the loop, his bike performing a backwards somersault as it leapt the gap between two ramps 70ft apart.
The three-day spectacular could turn out to be as successful as last year’s show, which attracted 97,000 visitors from across the south.
However, organisers are refusing to rest on their laurels. Planning for the 2015 event is due to start the week after next.
Jasper Brunt, four, and brother Oliver, nine, of Dorset, with wooden horse sculptures