The early arrival of summer has led to thoughts turning to the upcoming Heckington Show - now in its 151st year having celebrated its tremendous milestone in 2017.
It is a source of pride for many people in the Heckington area to have created a weekend show where visitors can connect with their rural roots, discover the sounds, sights and taste of an English summer and still try or perhaps buy something memorable.
At the heart of the largest village show in England, taking place on July 28 and 29, are the people who make it happen – local people, most with a day job but all motivated to put on a great event. They bring with them their own skills and talents and draw on help from their partners, children and friends to make the weekend the success it has become.
Heckington’s long history gives the magic a further twist by creating generations of helpers, stewards and organisers, passing it on. There are family names associated with the show this year that were involved – perhaps in a very different capacity – more than 100 years earlier. The team of some 200 helpers was awarded the Queen’s Award for Volunteering earlier this year.
The Saturday programme of sport will see scores of primary school children sprint and cycle their way to glory as the warm-up act for the national runners and riders in the 10 mile run and the various grass track cycling races who follow.
The track has seen the likes of Victoria Pendleton and Sebastian Coe.
For a spectacle the 10 mile road race will really take some beating this year with a full 300 runner entry signed before the end of May. Runners complete two laps of the main ring before heading into the fens.
Adult cyclists will compete for prizes over a range of distances from 800m to 8km with a new addition this year in the form of an ongoing points accumulation to identify the overall Victor Ludorum.
The main ring with its grandstand and banked sides is the ideal amphitheatre for this year’s headline performances - namely the popular Knights of Nottingham Jousters to re-enact their medieval tournament complete with Game-of-Thrones skulduggery on Saturday. On Sunday, it’s your chance to come face-to-face with the IMPS motorcycle display team interspersed with high quality show jumping, a grand parade of livestock and the noisy vintage tractor drive.
If you’re visiting on Saturday, remember to stay on for the Grand Firework Concert which reaches a Last-Night-of-the-Proms finale with Sleaford Concert Band but begins with the fabulous Abba tribute band, Waterloo Live.
Most food stalls remain open or you can bring a picnic.
In the grounds you can browse trade stands, displays, activities, action, food to eat or take home and enthusiasts sharing passions – many with strong Lincolnshire roots.
There will be special activities marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War which include a working replica tank in the Heritage Zone.
Look out for spinners and weavers, steam sawmilling, cookery demonstrations, a traditional horticulture marquee with art and photography competitions too.
North Kesteven District Council will be expanding its area at the show this year with its Made In Sleaford festival.
There are also animal showing classes ranging from poultry and rabbits to ferrets, owls, dogs, sheep, cattle and Shire horses.
You can get close to the action and meet the breeders, judges, growers, collectors, clubs and competitors.
You can buy tickets on arrival or in advance by going to: www.heckingtonshow.org.uk . Two Day Weekend Badges will be available to buy in the village from mid July from the Show Office on Eastgate or from Donaldson’s DIY on the High Street until 5pm Friday July 27.
The show is open on Saturday 9am – 10.30pm (firework concert 7pm – 10.30pm, main ring gate opens 6.45pm); on Sunday 9am – 5.30pm.