It may have been a bit muddy underfoot after a week of showers, but visitors in their thousands pulled on their wellies or boots and packed their raincoats to be part of the 150th anniversary year of the Heckington Show.
Heavy rain had hampered preparations in the run-up to the milestone event but on Saturday morning the skies were clear and out came the crowds.
Show committee chairman Charles Pinchbeck said enthusiastic people were even now coming up with ideas on how to top this year: “It has gone incredibly well.
“Saturday was probably the best single day we have ever had on visitor numbers which is absolutely fantastic and a wonderful testimony to the effort people put into the 150th show,” he said, while admitting that Sunday’s figures were slightly down after the predicted weather forecast, although apart from a couple of short showers the daytime skies remained clear.
Mr Pinchbeck said: “The weather has produced some real challenges, but not only have we overcome them but it has shown Heckington Show at its best. The local community has once again rallied round. I think we had every large tractor within about five miles to help people out and make sure nobody got stuck.”
The tractors were particularly needed to pull livestock and horse trailers in and out. He likened it to a taxi rank at King’s Cross station. He said: “We had them lined up with our drivers in smart commemorative year polo shirts and when a lorry needed a pull we just called forward the next tractor and off they went.
“We have had significant rain every night this week. The ground has got gradually wetter and wetter. We had 4mm of rain on Friday night, twice as much on Saturday night and the ground has been difficult to work with, but we made it through, everyone has put their wellies and their smiles on and come and enjoyed it.”
He explained putting straw, chipping or matting down would have prevented the ground drying out.
He said the main ring was fantastic. They had to limit the number of entries to the 10-mile road race at 250 but could have had many more.
“The cycling was exceptional. The best grass track meeting in the UK this year,” said Mr Pinchbeck.
The Lincoln Longwool Society gave its chairman’s award for outstanding contribution to the breed to Mr Pinchbeck for championing the breed at the show.
Children loved being part of Ye Olde Redtail Falconry display, were wowed by the freefall feats of the Red Devils Parachute Display Team swooping into the ring and stunts of the JC Balls dancing diggers and Big Pete monster trucks.
The Heritage Area had lots of interesting displays, including a Lottery project by Heckington Church.
Crowds were joined by patrols of marching soldiers from the American Civil War re-enactment group and there was entertainment at the Concert Marquee all day with everything from dance routines by Zest Dance and Britain’s Got talent stars Lucy Heath with Trip Hazard, to the Rocking Revs featuring the village’s own Rev Chris Harrington.
Sleaford Concert Band took centre stage for the spectacular evening firework concert display on which the committee had spent 20 per cent extra this year. People were treated to a rocking show by guest tribute band Queen II who had the capacity crowd up and dancing. Mr Pinchbeck said they filled the fenland sky with their firework show.