I’m sure several of you will have visited a Village Show at some time over the summer and strolled round the horticultural tent, perhaps thinking “wow” and occasionally “mine at home are better than that”!
Long into the night before the show villagers will have been baking bread, cakes, tarts, etc. but will still be up again at the crack of dawn to scurry round their gardens selecting the best blooms and then loading their cars with flowers, veg, crafts, preserves and baking galore.
On arrival at the show field it’s a case of squeezing the car as close to the tent as possible and then trekking back and forth until everything is in the tent. Matching the exhibit to the class is the next game and only when the last item is in place and looking its best can you relax and wander off to enjoy the show.
But all is not quiet in the horti tent. It will be closed to the public but the judges will have arrived and will be working their way along the tables accompanied by a steward whose main job is to keep track of who the winners are and then to make sure that the correct prize card is allocated to the correct exhibit. Some judges reach their decisions quickly and move on. Others take more time and like to write encouraging comments on the exhibitor cards.
Once judging is complete, prize cards have been placed and points for any cups have been tallied the tent is opened up to the public. Exhibitors will be keen to see if they’ve won anything and everyone will want to know if the prize for the largest onions has again be awarded to the chap who has won it every year in living memory.
Those who haven’t entered anything will enjoy the variety and colour of flowers on display, the perfect fruit and over-large veg to say nothing of all the tempting items in the home produce section, the lovely local crafts and of course the children’s section with monsters made from veg and weird and wonderful scarecrows.
At the end of the show exhibits are hastily removed with others being left to be auctioned off for a local charity. Hopefully many people go home determined to enter again next year and others, who have never before exhibited, will be keen to give it a go. After all, if no-one bothers to enter then there is no show.