Orkney is famous for its agricultural shows which bring back absent Orcadians and attract visitors in great numbers.
The main event in the agricultural calendar is the County Show in Bignold Park in Kirkwall in August, attended by around 10,000 people – half of our population.
At this showcase, after more than a week of agricultural shows across Orkney - East Mainland, Dounby, Sanday, Shapinsay and the Hope Show - farmers come to parade their animals and hope for a show champion. As well as cattle there are top quality horses, sheep, goats and poultry competing for awards. There are also several horticultural societies which run their prize shows alongside the agricultural shows. After the shows, awards are handed out and celebrations get underway.
The shows are more than a day out for the farmers. They are a huge draw for families who enjoy seeing the animals, catching up with friends, and browsing at stalls selling locally produced crafts and goods, food produce, and country clothing or chatting at the fundraising tents and entering their competitions and raffles, or viewing the latest farm implements for sale. You'll normally find showjumping, dog trials, a fun fair, entertainment and food outlets at the shows too. All in all, a great day out!
The evening of County Show day sees the culmination of the fiercely contested Parish Cup football competition, with the final being played out in front of a passionate crowd by the two parishes who have reached this stage over a couple of months of qualifying rounds.
Later in the year the festivities continue at Harvest Homes across the county, celebratory ceilidhs which welcome all age groups.
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