The Show


9.00am I walk through the allotment then round the corner to arrive at the Sports and Social Club where it’s already busy with committee members, helpers and a few exhibitors unloading vehicles. Inside the tables are covered in black cloths so that 125 class labels and well over 400 entry cards can be laid out.DSCN1677On the left is Ron,  committee member,  and to the right John,  show committee member, who are also both keen exhibitors.  Christine, the show secretary, asks if I’d like to be a steward, tells me what is involved and I say that I’d be more than happy to oblige.

10.30am There are lots more people now as all exhibits have to be staged by 11.45am. The tables are becoming covered with vegetables, fruit and  flowers in an abundance 0f colours, shapes and sizes. Here’s a view of the tomato entries.DSCN1691

12.00am The hall has now been now cleared for judging. I’m with Peter, an old hand at stewarding, and we accompany the vegetables judge. Once he’s reached his decisions and noted them on the entry cards we label them accordingly and also note them on a form that’s later used to enable the certificates to be printed ready for the prize giving later on.  It has proved most enlightening seeing the judge at work, with Peter clarifying and pointing out various details. I’m sure that this will be most useful to me next year when I hope to enter a few exhibits.

1.30pm The judging is all done and we adjourn for lunch. A sumptuous  buffet  has been done by Barbara, a show committee member. As I’m a growing lad I have seconds, and even thirds!  We all relax and chat  light-heartedly.

2.30pm The doors are opened to the public. The first people to enter are several anxious looking exhibitors hurrying to see if they’re prize winners, whilst others are far more easy going.  The hall gradually fills up  and as I walk round it’s all…hello…well done…hard luck…have you seen…look at that…if only the weather…next year…

I stop at the tombola stand, manned by Martin, to buy a few tickets.DSCN1689All the prizes are tickets ending in 0 or 5.  Oh look…110…I’ve won something! It’s a packet of aster coloured carpet flower seeds and a soil pH testing kit. Don’t tell anyone but I rather fancied one of the cuddly toys!

A couple of people think that this dahliaDSCN1682which was placed third is better than the ones judged first and second. I have  to agree with them!

Someone says that society member/helper, and a show sponser,  Dave has won the domestic class  Rock cakes, 4 in number, MEN ONLY! That has us laughing, all the more so when his wife relates his exploits in the kitchen making them!

One of  my favourite entries is in the children’s class A model animal made from one or more vegetables and accessories. It’s a cat made from a potato with a small sunflower face. I forget to take a photo, and don’t actually take many all day as I seem to be busy or chatting.

Perhaps the talking point of the day is Joe’s Italian squash which is on show  but has not been entered as an exhibit.DSCN1685It’s the 3 1/2 foot long, 8 1/2 kg  pale green vegetable. No one seems to know exactly what it is, and I  even asked on the Allotments 4 All forum last week.  The marrows in the picture are for the heaviest class, and I was right when I guessed that Joe’s (top left) at well over 9 kg was just a few grams heavier than John’s (top right).

3.45pm The alderman of the borough presents the cups and prizes.DSCN1687Plenty of the vegetable ones go to Joe and John, whilst  Graham is king of the dahlias as usual. Along with all the other winners they receive their prizes to well earned applause.

4.15pm It’s time to start removing the exhibits,  including the pumpkins.DSCN1681

5.00pm The hall is empty and that’s it for another year.  Several committee members,  show committee members and myself go into the bar for a drink or two, which in my case is a glass of lemonade. They all say  it was a really good day which went well, and that it’s the best  year yet.

7.00pm I’m home, shoes off and kettle boiling for a cup of tea. It’s been a long, tiring day but one which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m already looking forward to next year when I’ll be happy to help out, be a steward again, hopefully enter a few exhibits and just possibly be among the prize winners!

Footnote It should be remembered that it’s thanks to everyone who grows, or makes, then enters the exhibits,  the small number of dedicated show committee members, helpers and people just visiting for a look round that the show is actually being  held.  Well done everybody I applaud you all! Above all it’s enjoyable, and great fun,  so if you don’t already then why not support your local event next time.


About Flighty

...allotmenteer, armchair gardener, blogger and sofa flyer.
This entry was posted in Flighty's plot, Lawn loungers. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to The Show

  1. re says:

    You certainly deserved that cuppa after such a busy day!

  2. Sonia aka Duke Ellington says:

    Now that you’ve seen the judges in action I will be asking you for tips ~~ if I ever decide to enter our local show!! I am glad you had a good day Flighty…it looked like fun!

    • Flighty says:

      Sonia hello, and thanks for stopping by!
      Top of the list is read the show schedule, and rules, carefully as it must be so disappointing to find your exhibit card marked NAS (not as schedule).
      Thanks again, yes it was a good day and lots of fun! xx

  3. deyank says:

    Unfortunately, we don’t do much of that over here. Sounds like great fun though. I have friends around me who seem to have really green thumbs. Me, I’m just all thumbs when it comes to growing. I plant ’em, and they can either grow – or not. It’s all I can do to keep weeds from blossoming.


    • Flighty says:

      Deyank I’m surprised that you don’t! It sure was.
      I think that as well as having green thumbs they are probably rather more serious gardeners than you or I are.
      That’s my philosophy as well! I’ve certainly got more than my fair share of weeds! Cheers.

  4. VP says:

    Great post Flighty – good to see an insider’s of what happens at our local shows. I bumped into our show secretary at a bee and honey day of Sunday and we were talking how important it is to keep this kind of thing going.

    Well done on keeping your show on the road!

    • Flighty says:

      VP many thanks! As you can imagine it’s only a snapshot of what goes on. For instance there was a bee and honey stall which I could, indeed should, have mentioned.
      It is indeed, especially as I’ve heard of one, maybe two, shows elsewhere calling it a day sadly.
      Thanks again, and we’ll hopefully continue do so well into the future. xx

  5. nikkipolani says:

    What an excellent post, Flighty! I really enjoyed getting a behind-the-scenes look into a exhibition like this. The tomatoes table looks terrific — doesn’t look like there was any taste testing however… as for that dahlia, it’s a beauty, all right. The long pale green vegetable looks like it might be opo that’s grown a bit loooooong.

    • Flighty says:

      Nikki many thanks! It was interesting because the public just get to look round, and see the prize giving, for less than a couple of hours and probably don’t realise just how much effort goes into it all before hand.
      The tomatoes were either taken home, given away or sold the next morning at the hut with the money going to charity. The ones I had were certainly very tasty!
      Showing dahlias is a serious business even at shows like this, and the exhibits were really wonderful. I should have taken more pictures!
      It could be, but whatever it is it sure got everyone’s attention! xx

  6. Glo says:

    Dear Growing Lad aka Steward (is that James Steward(t) … 😉

    I thoroughly enjoyed your tour through the Horticultural Society Show and seeing the tables set out just so. Very good of you to offer your services and as you say it was beneficial for you as well , learning a lot from being with the judges. Sounds like you enjoyed a few good natured laughs along ~ we have an agricultural show or two around here, and they are always enjoyable to attend, which reminds me, I even went to the Royal Welsh Show in Builth in 2000!

    Sorry you didn’t get your stuffed animal, but hope the seeds sprout for you next year. Which stuffed animal did you have your eye on, by the way? The cups and prizes look impressive!

    • Flighty says:

      Glo the trouble is at my age I’m only growing round the middle!
      Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it. There’s never enough volunteers, and of course there was the incentive of a free lunch! The good-natured banter was good for a laugh or two and helped to make it such a grand day.
      It was good just to win a prize, even if it wasn’t the rather cute gray and white cuddly kitten.
      The cups had all been polished, as had some of the exhibits by the look of them! xx

  7. Olivia says:

    Lovely red homegrown tomatoes ripened on the vine, not those half-baked ones you buy in the supermarket which poach their own nutrients while sitting on the shelf…
    Also, that is a beautiful dahlia. xx

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