An agricultural show is a public event exhibiting the equipment, animals, sports and recreation associated with agriculture and animal husbandry. The largest comprise a livestock show (a judged event or display in which breeding stock is exhibited), a trade fair, competitions, and entertainment. The work and practices of farmers, animal fanciers, cowboys and zoologists may be displayed. The terms agricultural show and livestock show are synonymous with the North American term county fair or state fair.
Agricultural shows are an important part of cultural life in small country towns, and popular event in larger towns and cities. Shows range from small events in small country towns usually lasting two days, through medium-sized events of three days, to large Royal Shows, which may run for up to two weeks and combine elements of an amusement park with those of an agricultural show. Although increasingly under pressure due to finances and insurance concerns, all main towns in the United Kingdom have a Show Society and in some areas, several towns and villages in the area all have an annual show. Larger shows often include live entertainment and fireworks in the main arena.
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Competitions commonly included in shows include:
- Stud and commercial livestock
- Jams and preserves
- Wood chopping
- Sheaf tossing
- Demolition Derby
- Show jumping
- Tent pegging
- Arts and crafts
- Horse show
- Dog shows, including sheepdog trials
- Cat shows
A livestock show is an event where livestock are exhibited and judged on certain phenotypical breed traits as specified by their respective breed standard. Species of livestock that may be shown include pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, horses, llamas and alpacas. Poultry such as chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys and pigeons are also shown competitively.
Related to a show is the "field day", with elements of a trade show for machinery, equipment and skills required for broadacre farming. Field days typically do not involve livestock, showbags or sideshows, but may include events such as ploughing competitions not usually associated with shows due to the larger space required. In some communities in northern England Field Days (or Club Days) have lost their agricultural character and have become community celebrations.
The events are good sources of agricultural information, as organizers can arrange for guest speakers to talk on a range of topics, such as the talk on the yellow-flowering alfalfa at the South Dakota field day. Pecan growers were given a talk on insect control by an entomologist at a recent field day at LSU AgCenter’s Pecan Research/Extension Station in Shreveport, La.
A Landcare survey conducted in 1992/93 revealed that field days in Australia have a high value among local farmers. New Zealand's National Agricultural Fieldays is held annually in June at Mystery Creek, near Hamilton, New Zealand, and attracts 1,000 exhibitors and over 115,000 visitors through its gates. Smaller shows, held annually in New Zealand's towns and communities, are generally called agricultural and pastoral shows (A&P shows).
List of shows
- The Campbell Town Show
- Wanneroo Agricultural Show
- Wee Waa Show
- Newcastle Regional Show
- Camden Show
- see Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Societies Inc. for a list of all Queensland Agricultural Shows
- Puerto Rico
- New Zealand
- Fieldays, Hamilton
- Central Districts Field Days, Manfeild Autocourse, Feilding
- Canterbury A&P Show, Christchurch
- Oxford A&P Show, Oxford
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- Grassland & Muck
- Bakewell Show - Known as 'The Little Royal' Bakewell, Derbyshire
- The East of England Show – Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
- Great Yorkshire Show – Harrogate, North Yorkshire
- Kent County Agricultural Society and Show
- Monmouth Show – Monmouth, Monmouthshire
- North Devon Show
- Nantwich and South Cheshire Show incorporating the International Cheese Awards
- Newport Show – Newport, Shropshire
- The New Forest and Hampshire County Show
- Shropshire and West Midlands Show
- The Suffolk Show
- Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show, Dorset
- Tendring Hundred Show
- Three Counties Show
- Westmorland County Show
- United States
- Palisades Fair - West Nyack, New York
- Ocean County Fair - Ocean County, New Jersey
- American Royal – Kansas City, Missouri
- Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo - Rapid City, SD
- Brooklyn Fair – Brooklyn, Connecticut
- Clay County Fair – Spencer, Iowa
- Elkhart County 4-H Fair - Goshen, Indiana
- Erie County Fair - Hamburg, New York
- Farm Progress Show – Decatur, Illinois and Boone, Iowa (Alternate years)
- Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo – Fort Worth, Texas
- Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo – Houston, Texas
- Huntingdon County Fair - Huntingdon, Pennsylvania
- National Farm Machinery Show – Louisville, Kentucky
- National Western Stock Show – Denver, Colorado (Largest in the world)
- North American International Livestock Exposition – Louisville, Kentucky
- Pennsylvania Farm Show – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo – San Antonio, Texas
- The Great Allentown Fair - Allentown, Pennsylvania
List of Royal Shows
- Royal Adelaide Show
- Royal Canberra Show
- Royal Geelong Show
- Royal Hobart Show
- Royal Launceston Show
- Royal Melbourne Show
- Perth Royal Show
- Royal Queensland Show (The Ekka)
- Sydney Royal Easter Show
- Royal Bathurst Show
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- Royal Show – Stoneleigh, Warwickshire (now defunct)
- Royal Highland Show – Ingliston, Edinburgh
- Royal Norfolk Show – Costessey near Norwich, Norfolk
- Royal Welsh Show – Llanelwedd, Powys
- Royal Bath and West Show – Shepton Mallet, Somerset
- Royal Cornwall Agricultural Show – Wadebridge, Cornwall
Since the nineteenth century, agricultural shows in Australia have provided communities with an opportunity to celebrate achievements and enjoy a break from day-to-day routine. With a combination of serious competition and light entertainment, annual shows acknowledged and rewarded the hard work and skill of primary producers and provided a venue for rural families to socialise. City shows such as the Sydney Royal Easter Show and Brisbane’s Ekka also provide city people with an opportunity to engage directly with rural life and food production.
A distinctive feature of Australian shows is the showbag, a themed carry bag of commercial goods. Another distinctive feature of the Australian show circuit is the provision of educational services to the children of show business proprietors and employees through the Queensland School for Travelling Show Children.
Initially, prize-winners at agricultural shows were awarded inscribed medals and cups but later they were more likely to receive rosettes and ribbons. The National Museum of Australia has a rare collection of medals documenting the history of agricultural shows and rural industries across Australia. The 111 medals range in date from the mid-19th to the early 20th century and many are associated with significant individuals and organizations.
- Ekarius, Carol (2008). Storey's Illustrated Breed Guide to Sheep, Goats, Cattle and Pigs. Storey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60342-036-5.
- Ekarius, Carol (2007). Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds. Storey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-58017-667-5.
- "Yellow-flowering alfalfa topic of June 26 field day". High Plains Midwest Ag Journal. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
- Van Osdell, Mary Ann. "Pecan field day provides latest information". Delta Farm Press. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
- Conacher, Arthur; Conacher, Jeanette (1995). Rural Land Degradation in Australia. South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press Australia. p. 138. ISBN 0-19-553436-0.
- Fieldays Retrieved on 29 November 2008
- "Greatest show on turf opens gates". BBC News. 8 July 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2008.
- "Lowveld Show". Retrieved 27 October 2011.
- Australian Screen: Agricultural shows
- David Allen agricultural medals, National Museum of Australia
- David Allen collection agricultural medals purchased by the National Museum - images and details