Due to past success and demand it was decided by the committee that the 108th Woolley Moor Show would expand over two fields effectively doubling the size of the event and, thanks to John and Ian Ward kindly offering the use of their adjacent field plans were made – a challenge in itself!
Months of work preceding the show saw extensive advertising on our Facebook page and new show website devised by Adam Buckley and Rob Lowe with (for the first time) online booking for stalls and classic cars. Also, arrangements for a new gate to be fitted in the wall between the two fields not to mention the numerous emails, phone calls and meetings needed to finalise details for the day. The field layout itself had to be altered to include 80 pitches, 60 classic cars plus 40 tractors and static steam engines (the previous year we had 33 pitches, 38 classic cars and 30 tractors/static steam engines)!! Adam rose to the challenge and devised a field plan which by mid-July was fully booked!
Work on erecting the marquees began on Sunday August 11th and by Tuesday 13th both fields were looking good. Heavy rain on the Wednesday made the ground slightly boggy but a sunny Thursday saw the ground drying nicely until the skip lorry got stuck and needed to be towed off! John Ward did a sterling job flattening the churned-up mud, clearing the drainage area, creating a further 3 parking spaces and stabilising the entrance to the field by spreading limestone chippings. On Thursday evening things looked hopeful…. but the forecast for Friday was heavy rain!!!
By 2pm on Friday we had escaped the rain and were remaining hopeful with fingers crossed that conditions would be ok. But from 2pm onwards the rain was torrential….by 4pm the newly cleared drain in the car park was full, a lake was forming and excess water running over the edging stones as a stream down the field!
After several failed attempts with drainage rods to unblock the drain and the rain still falling a decision had to be made – do we go ahead or do we cancel the show!! A very wet and despondent meeting of the committee took place at 6pm and it was decided that we go ahead with the show BUT no vehicles could be allowed on the field due to the extremely boggy condition of the field. This meant that the Classic Cars so well organised by Jon Hughes, would have to be cancelled. Stallholders would be contacted and offered the choice of attending on the basis of pulling onto the car park, unloading and transporting wares (with the help of committee members) to a pitch then immediately removing their vehicle to the general car park. As the classic cars would not be attending then the area they were allocated (near the entrance to the field) could then be available for the stalls. There followed a busy evening of contacting stallholders and classic car owners via phone, email, Facebook and Website notifications in the hopes we could inform everyone of our decision.
The morning of the Show dawned and saw committee members arriving on the field from 6.30am. The field was extremely boggy and muddy underfoot and definitely not suitable for vehicles, however after one short passing shower the weather became warm and windy. Hay bales were broken and scattered over most of the muddy areas, the Craft Marquee was unpegged and physically carried up the field by 12 committee members to a less boggy area and by 9.00am show entries and stall holders were arriving. The use of new mobile walkie talkies, good organisation of stall drop offs and quick transfer of cars to the other car park paid off and by 11.30am 30 of the pre-booked stalls had arrived and set up.
From then on the day just got better…the sun shone, the field dried up and the visitors arrived with approximately 1500 counted through the gates. The Spitfire flypast (always a much anticipated and proud moment) and the spectacular aerobatic display by Steve Carver were a well-received highlight of the show. The NAFAS Flower demonstration was well attended and the Birds of Prey display was very popular. New to the show this year was a demonstration by World Record Football Freestyler Dan Magness. Dan, who holds the world record for juggling a football continuously for 26hrs, gave a fabulous display allowing both adults and children to participate and learn new skills. Another new addition was the Taekwondo demonstration which was very well received and also the Gin & Prosecco Bar which proved quite popular and successful. Unfortunately, the planned Rockbox and Dog Agility displays were unable to go ahead this year due to the weather conditions however, despite many last-minute changes a very enjoyable and successful day ensued culminating in a fantastic firework display by Will Marriott.
The themed scarecrow competition (Villains) saw 14 entries and the winners were ‘The Childcatcher’ from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, ‘Darth Vader’ from Star Wars, and ‘Dracula’ as judged by Stretton Parish Council.
All in all, the 108th Show was a huge success in regards to the massive effort and pulling together of all the committee members who worked tirelessly all week and refused to be beaten by the weather and to the stallholders who were willing to give it a go on the day!
Thanks must also be given to our villagers and visitors who turned out to support us, to donate cakes, bottles and raffle prizes not forgetting John Wards tractor driving contact who helped to tow cars from muddy patches throughout the day! Also to our sponsors who continue to support our cause and enable us to invest funds back into the community and donate to local charities.
A big thank you to all associated with the Woolley Moor Show and maybe next year we will be able to successfully achieve our two-field plan!!!
Ian Cooke (Chairperson)