TOMORROW would have seen the launch of the county’s popular one-day country summer show calendar.

Thousands would have flocked to enjoy the flagship Cumberland Show famous for its showcase of tradition and agriculture, combined with a fresh, modern focus to create a real celebration of farming, food and countryside.

However, like other prominent county shows such as Penrith, Skelton and Dalston, the Cumberland Show, held on farmland at East Park, Brisco and normally held on the third Saturday of June, fell victim to Covid-19.

But in a bid to offer something to locked-down Cumbrians, organisers of the Cumberland show are determined to fill the hole left by the cancellation of dozens of farming shows and events this year, by organising a social media competition.

They are inviting visitors to previous shows to submit their best pictures of the Cumberland Show over the years - and already the numbers flocking in on Facebook have left organisers ‘amazed’.

“In what would normally be our very busy show week we still want to celebrate and mark the 2020 Cumberland Show and what better way than with a competition,” said Gillian Potts, operations development secretary.

“The objective is to have a bit of fun while the country remains on lockdown and while so many shows are cancelled,” she added.

A panel of carefully-selected judges will shortlist the photographs tonight (Fri) ready for the public to vote for their winners on ‘show day’ tomorrow.

Winners will receive two tickets to the 2021 Cumberland show, which organisers promise is going to be the biggest and best one yet. “The tickets will give the winners a day to remember. Not only will they enjoy all the show has to offer, but they will give access to the Members Hospitality Marquee,” said Gillian.

“So what are you waiting for, get yourself down memory lane, dig out your photos, and either put them in our Facebook Page comments, share them and tag us in them or simply message them to the page to enter for your chance to win. We can’t wait to see all your memories of so many wonderful show days from years gone by,” added Gillian.

The day itself will also be marked by a private showing with six committee members, who will gather on the showfield on the outskirts of Carlisle, along with one animal from each livestock sector that would have been showing in the competition rings.

“We are going to take along a sheep, horse, beef and dairy cattle,” said Gillian. “All abiding to the two-metres self-distancing rules, of course,” she added.

“It is a shame for the whole industry, but we were originally caught up in the 12 weeks lockdown prediction and the show date fell in that time. We have to remember the Cumberland Show is a showcase not only for exhibitors with their stock, but for the trade stands, who represent everything that is good about country life. Many of these are cottage industries and this will have hit them hard not being able to take their food and crafts to shows,” said Gillian.

“Not having a show day will also impact on charities. Every year a different charity comes along on show day with their collection buckets and this year it was MIND. We also have charities who take a stand, like the farming charity, RABI. The money raised from these shows can help many of those in need,” she added.

Gillian regularly gave talks on the history of the Cumberland show since it began in 1832. She has several interesting articles copied from records stored in the Carlisle archive office, with particular reference to how the industrial section had changed over the years.

In the early days butter making was the only class, followed by bread making and then the full range of baking and crafts seen today.

The show has moved around the county and the date has changed over the years. It has even hosted the Royal Show a few times. It is now a major project run by volunteers, relying heavily on sponsors and visitors attending.

Show day itself showcases a range of livestock classes including beef, dairy and sheep; heavy and light horses; poultry classes; vintage vehicle classes as well as wrestling and a fun dog show. The Countryside Area displays rural crafts and skills; a Home Industries Marquee; Craft Marquee; Country Living Arcade; Food Hall; a wide range of Trade Stands; and a variety of entertainment around the Showfield, which all make for a great family day out.