Some things, regular as you like, you can set your clock too. The USK SHOW is precisely one of those. Every year, since 1844, on the second Saturday in September, it’s the 10th this year, the very best of farming and rural life is celebrated in the heart of Monmouthshire. It’s actually become one of the biggest one-day agricultural shows in the whole of the UK and if you pay a visit, you’ll see it’s popularity is second-to-none.
Staged in the magnificent 100 acre Usk Showground near the village of Gwernsney, just outside Usk, it really is the most incredible of settings. The SOUTH WALES LIFE team have been involved with a few events there over the years and always love the views. It’s picturesque, breathtaking and most of all, huge, as you can see from the picture below.
So, we can feel a well worn phrase coming on here and maybe it’s one which is best served by photographs alone. The USK SHOW really does have something for everyone. Obviously, it’s an agricultural show and that means the serious business of competition. There’s 11 different sections each holding their own competitions on the day.
Usk Farmers Club Members bring their Cattle, Sheep and Pigs to compete in the Agricultural Livestock Section. There’s is a thriving Horse Show and Show Jumping Competitions, as well as Goats, Poultry, Rabbits, Horticulture, Homecrafts, a Companion Dog Show, Steam Corner and Vintage Tractors. Each and every one of those are great to watch.
In the Main Ring and Countryside Ring they have displays and demonstrations taking place throughout the day. Last year in the Main Attraction is Jamie Squibb Freestyle Display Team in our Main Ring (as seen on BBC One’s The One Show!) and The Welsh Axemen, Black Mountain Falconry, Rowan Working Horses & Usk Valley Gun Dogs in the Countryside Ring.
The Usk Show is also a place to let off steam – quite literally. A little gem at the event is the steam section which is tucked away in the top corner of the field! The Section Secretary, Chris Lewis-Cooper, has put together a little video explaining the section for you! HERE.
The Model Steam Road Vehicle Society (MSRVS) usually support the show and The City of Newport Model Engineering Society (NMES) also join the event and run a miniature electric and a steam railway, which prove very popular for visitors. They also host stationary diesel engines, a class previously part of the vintage section.
Don’t for one minute think you’ll get away without a little mooch around their shopping mall. 300 traders join in, with crafts and so much food as well. There’s a wonderful selection, and whether you’re picking up something for lunch, wanting an ice cream or buying to take home for a post-Show treat, there’ll be plenty on offer to tempt your tastebuds!
The trade hall has 36 stalls for hand-crafters that make the products they sell. The shopping mall itself is for small traders who prefer to be undercover. You’ll find everything from jewellery, children’s books, greeting cards and antique cutlery.
The fabulous display of children’s work on Show Day is second to none & something that the young entrants should be very proud of! The Junior Section has classes for Under 5s, Age 5-7, Age 8-11 and Age 12-16. There is something for everyone with classes ranging from computer generated birthday cards, craft, art, photography, baking to floral displays for the children in their specific age range.
Its not only for the kids, there are many classes available in Floral Art, Preserves, Home Baking, Wine & Home made drinks, Handicrafts and Art, Craft & Photography. Novice classes are run in the Floral Art, Homebaking and Handicraft sections, especially for those who have not won a prize in that section before – so why not make this the year you give it a go?
Anyone who has ever walked around Usk will know what highly skilled gardeners they have in the locality who bring the most amazing produce to the show, year after year, which is an inspiration to us all. They normally have between 30 and 40 competitors with some entering a large number of classes and others exhibiting in just one or two.
They aim to cater for a wide diversity of gardeners from keen ‘show gardeners’ to interested beginners and find that the more experienced show gardeners are willing to help advise and encourage newcomers. With new entrants in mind, they have consciously developed simpler classes that make it easier to find suitable produce to show.
As we said, they’ve done this for a long time and really get what they do, right. Everything you need to get you to the showground and when you are there, has been provided. They have free shuttle bus services. Plenty of car parking. Disabled facilities and toilets in abundance. There’s catering, first aid, plenty of information on-site to help you around and, dogs are allowed too, so your lovely pooch can enjoy the day with you.
If you’ve been before you’ll know exactly what a fantastic day it is. If this is to be your first year, not only are you in for a treat but we can pretty much guarantee it won’t be your last.
The gates for the USK SHOW open at 9am on Saturday 11th September and you can spend all day till they shut up at 6pm. For more information about the show, getting there, tickets prices etc, go here. USK SHOW The organisers have just added some really nice ‘behind the scenes’ videos too, which are worth a watch.
Don’t forget to take a look at the OUR SOUTH WALES feature on USK
Just two things to mention. If the weather is fine the show usually ends will with a magnificent display of hot air balloons which is well worth staying for. Finally, as they in all good show circles, there is something for everyone, even a Bouncy-Castle for the kids. Enjoy.