Get ready for the Kent County Show 2016

PUBLISHED: 09:22 25 June 2016 | UPDATED: 09:22 25 June 2016

Animals are the big draw at the Kent County Show

Animals are the big draw at the Kent County Show

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

As such a predominantly rural county it is no surprise that the Kent County Show is one of the highlights of the year for visitors and exhibitors alike. Here’s a guide of what to look out for on 8, 9 and 10 July.


Plenty of entertainment is planned for The Kent County Show 2016, taking place at the Detling showground on 8, 9 and 10 July.

Lucy Hegarty, Show Manager says: “We are really pleased with the displays, bands and activities we have booked for this year. We are building on the success we had last year with the RAF Red Arrows, who performed an outstanding display on our opening day. We are equally excited to have Bolddog, the UK’s number one freestyle motorcycle display team for 2016.”

The Bolddog FMX Stunt Team, supported by Lings Motorcycles, has a team of highly skilled riders and the largest, most sophisticated FMX landing ramp in the world that enables its riders to jump gaps of more than 75ft and perform tricks where they leave their seat in mid-air.

It was their fearless skill that saw Andy Godbold double for Captain America in the 2011 blockbuster, as well as doubling for Daniel Craig as 007 in Skyfall. Andy has also appeared as a stunt rider in War Horse, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows and Batman – The Dark Knight. The team hit the headlines when it auditioned and made it to the semi finals on the 2014 series of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent.

The Royal British Legion Band & Corps of Drums Romford will entertain guests in the main ring on Saturday and Sunday. The band and drums was formed in 1952 and is one of the longest-running independent youth bands in the country today. Its 45 members (with an average age of 16 years) was the first-ever youth band to appear at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. It has taken part in the World Music Contest held in Kerkrade, Holland in 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2009 and the total number of medals received to date is seven gold and three silver.

In March 2004 the band became Supreme Concert Band Champions and in 2005 Concert Band Champions at The Youth Marching Band Association’s contest. The group plays a wide range of music to match any military band and, along with a Royal Marine-style uniform, projects a thoroughly professional style.

Back by popular demand is the majestic Spirit of Kent Spitfire, from the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar. The Spirit of Kent, better known as The Kent Spitfire, is a MK9 TA805 with the No. 234 Squadron colours.

The aircraft flies in memory of No. 131 (County of Kent) Fighter Squadron. The Kent Spitfire will complete an exciting display over the Kent Showground on all three Show days.

The plane was sold to the South African Airforce in the early 1960s as an operational aircraft. It flew until 1976 when it was scrapped. It returned to the UK in the 1980s and was rebuilt on the Isle of Wight. The Heritage Hangar later purchased the plane and is delighted to be able to fly her at the Kent County Show.

The display commentary will take place in the main Astor Ring, but the iconic aircraft can be seen and heard over the entire Show.

New for 2016 is Joseph’s Amazing Racing Pigs – six rare-breed pigs, including Tamworths, Gloucester Old Spots, Saddlebacks, Berkshires and Oxford sandy and blacks.

The display, which will take place on all three Show days, sees the handlers encourage the pigs down the track by shaking a bucket of food. The pigs then hurl themselves over the hurdles in their rush to be the first to the bucket.

Show organiser the Kent County Agricultural Society is also introducing several displays and entertainment for younger visitors to the annual event. The globally popular Peppa Pig, with her own TV show in 180 countries, outranks many top celebrities in popularity and is one of the UK’s most successful brands. Peppa Pig is the most successful farm animal in history, overtaking Pinky, Perky, Miss Piggy and even Babe.

Peppa will be at the Show with her brother George and will be delighted to meet as many younger guests as possible.

Another children’s favourite, Tractor Ted will on hand in its own area where youngsters will be able to play on the Tractor Ted Bouncy Castle, operate Digger Den, take part in Welly Wanging and complete a Giant Puzzle.

The Hedge Men, from The Living Topiary, are part of the repertoire of one of the world’s leading creators of living entertainment art, The Living Statue Company. The Hedge Men will be lurking around the Showground so beware of any trees, hedges and bushes; if you lean on them you may be in for more than you bargained for.

The Country, Game and Canine area of the Kent County Show will be bigger this year and features a number of new displays as well as welcoming back firm favourites for Showgoers.

Back for 2016 is the BASC Taste of Game cookery demonstrations. Across the three Show days, chef Dan Kennedy of Kent Cookery School will give game butchery and cookery demonstrations in the Taste of Game zone on the BASC stand. Dan will create tasty game dishes including venison burgers with an Asian coleslaw and hot smoked pigeon salad.

BASC & Chudleys Scurry League will once again be hosting a qualifying round of the BASC Chudleys Scurry League, now in its fifth year.

Winners of individual scurries will gain points towards the league table and at the end of the summer the top dogs and handlers will compete in the grand final. The scurries are open to all gundog breeds and recognised crosses.

For visitors interested in the country life, the Coakham Bloodhounds will be taking part in a display on Friday and there will be a Parade of Beagles on Saturday.

New for 2016 will be Gamegoer Gundogs who, with more than 20 years’ experience, will be hosting gundog displays, incorporating elements of falconry and ferrets. The Gamegoer team will be present throughout the day to assist with advice and tips on pet problems.

Elsewhere in the area and on all three days will be a number of displays that have become part of the fabric of the Show.

Lucy Hegarty commented: “Our visitors come to the Show to be entertained and many of the demonstrations and displays have been part of the event for a good number of years.

The Sheep Show, Sheep Dog and Duck Show, Birds of Prey and Ferret Racing are incredibly popular and we are delighted to have them back for 2016.”


A County Show isn’t complete without food taking centre stage and the Kent County Show is no exception. There will be plenty of local produce from The Garden of England when gates open on 8 July for the three-day celebration.

Over the past few years the team responsible for putting on the Kent County Show has taken notice of what visitors enjoy most about their day. Although only coming a close second to the stars of the Show, the animals, food is a top priority for attendees.

Visitors can explore the large Food Marquee, the Cheese and Wine Tent, a new Beer and Cider Festival and the Produced in Kent area. The Show also host many mobile street food caterers, the wonderful Why Farming Matters in Kent Cookery Theatre and a number of unusual local and international food producers who can be found all around the large Showground.

Lucy Hegarty adds: “Every year we look at what our visitors like to experience, and each year one of the most popular activities is to explore the food we offer. Last year we looked at expanding the catering court offer, and invited more local and artisan street food producers. This proved very popular and the number of people commenting on the wonderful selection and quality was heartwarming.

“This year we are incorporating a new Beer and Cider Festival as Kent is such an important county when it comes to beer and cider, so it is only right that visitors to our Show can sample some of the best refreshments in the UK.”

The Beer and Cider Festival is co-organised by The Craft Beer Man, based in Orpington. Their intimate knowledge of the brewery and cider production in Kent means they are in a unique position to invite some of the finest brewers and cider makers for a truly Kentish experience.

Produced in Kent will have a large area dedicated to local artisan producers who not only sell their local goods, but are more than happy to chat to visitors about where they source ingredients, how they make their products and ultimately how wonderful they taste. Cheese makers, meat producers and a host of home-made jams and chutneys will just be some of the wonderful products available to sample and buy.

Kent is well known for its fruit production and each year The Kent County Show hosts the National Cherry and Soft Fruit Show. All the main commercial growers from across the country enter fruit, which is judged by a panel of experts. Once judging has finished on the first day, visitors are welcome to visit the large marquee and see some of the best exhibits of fruit grown anywhere in the world.

The standard of entries is outstanding, with the taste, colour and uniformity being critical to gain a high score from the exacting judges.

The competition fruit is available to buy, apart from the winning entry of cherries which is always couriered to Buckingham Palace as a present for Her Majesty The Queen.

Why Farming Matters in Kent will showcase the wonderful produce Kent has to offer and stage cookery demonstrations from local chefs. Farmers and growers will be on hand to talk about the advantages of buying local food, the many different varieties grown within in the UK and the role of the farmer in a modern world.

The Why Farmers Matters in Kent professional cookery theatre will also be home to the Kent is Delicious children’s cookery competition, run by The Diocese of Canterbury and supported by the Kent County Agricultural Society.

Taking part will be primary school age children who have been encouraged to cook with local, seasonal ingredients. Now in its fifth year, the competition has grown and grown, with many schools enjoying the opportunity the competition gives to develop their pupil’s cookery, confidence and team building skills.

This year schools have been asked to create a trio of tasty after-school snacks, including one hot dish, which should be made using as many locally sourced, grown or produced ingredients as possible. The four finalist schools will be cooking their dishes at the Kent County Show on 8 July where they will be judged by a panel of experienced local food and farming judges.

Each finalist school will receive Kent Farmers’ Market Association Vouchers, with the winners receiving free transport for Years 3 and 4 to the Living Land event at the Showground, hosted in May each year.

Rosie Gouldsworthy, trade stand co-ordinator, adds: “One of the most popular areas of the Kent County Show is the large International Food Marquee. We have more than 40 stands from both around the world and here in Kent.

Continental Cottage will have a range of authentic German salamis and Foxdenton Estate will be bringing its range of award-winning English Gin liqueurs. Food Tent visitors will also be able to sample Nim’s Fruit Crisps a local company producing healthy fruit snacks from their own factory in Kent.

For visitors wanting a little more indulgence The Chocolate Hut will tempt with its gourmet brownies and American-inspired tray bakes.

Elsewhere around the Showground, Thomas J Fudge, will be giving away samples of its home-baked products and BASC is returning to showcase its game cooking demonstrations in the Country, Game and Canine area.

Faversham brewer Shepherd Neame will have a number of pop-up pubs around the site and historic French brewer Leffe will run a small bar where they will be giving out samples and promoting the brand.


When: 8, 9 and 10 July 2016. The Kent County Show starts at 8am and stays open until 6pm, although there is no rush to leave as some of the food stands stay open later. The Show has more than 140 different activities, workshops, displays and competitions which run throughout the day and are often repeated daily.

How to get there: The Kent Event Centre at the Kent Showground is on the A249, postocode ME14 3JF (best to follow the signs as you near the Showground rather than use sat nav).

From the M20: exit at junction 7 and follow signs to Sittingbourne and Sheerness A249. The Kent Showground is clearly marked and approx. two miles from the junction.

From the M2: exit at junction 5, signposted Maidstone A249. The Kent Showground is approx. five miles from the junction.

By Bus: Arriva route 333, 01622 690 577

An Arriva-run shuttle bus to the Kent County Show on all three days runs from Maidstone East Station and King Street opposite Boots (Maidstone), takes approx. 25 minutes.

By Rail: nearest train station is Maidstone East, 08457 48 49 50.

How much: Kent County Agricultural Society is offering a Multiday Ticket which entitles entry for all three days of the Show and gives holders forward parking and access to the Members’ Area in the Maidstone Exhibition Hall.

The new multiday ticket is £50 and the perfect solution for many visitors who wish

to attend the Show on more than one day, particularly people interested in seeing all the different areas and sections of the Show.

The Society is offering one additional multi-day ticket for a family member or partner priced at £35 when purchased with a £50 ticket. This will allow two visitors access to the Show on all three days for £85 and represents a saving of more than £33 on daily advance tickets.

A family ticket is £43.20 in advance or £48 on the gate. The family ticket entitles two adults and two children aged between five and 15 a full day entrance. Children under five go free and parking is free.

Adult tickets are £19.80 in advance and £22 on the gate, a child ticket is £5.40 in advance and £6 on the gate. Multiday tickets cost £50 and are only available in advance.

Kent Life and Kent on Sunday at the show

Come and say hi to the team on stand 413, opposite the Astor Ring

Hadlow at the Show

Not surprisingly, the Kent Show is one of the major events of the year for Hadlow College, Kent’s only land-based college, which offers further and higher education courses in Agriculture, various branches of Horticulture, Countryside Management, Fisheries Management, Equine Management, Arboriculture, Floristry and other specialist areas.

With 85 per cent of the county officially designated ‘rural’, the land-based industries are very important to Kent in economic and social terms. The land-based sector offers excellent career opportunities for graduates and skilled entrants and Hadlow lecturers and support staff will be available to provide information and discuss progression.

Over the last few years Hadlow College has expanded and now heads up the Hadlow Group, which includes West Kent College, Ashford College, Hadlow Rural Community School, Hadlow Community Pre-School, Betteshanger Sustainable Parks and Produced in Kent (the latter in partnership with KCC).

All members of the group will be exhibiting and demonstrating at the show and students and staff will be much in evidence – shearing sheep, flower arranging, stewarding, demonstrating arboriculture technique and land-based technology, providing the arena party in the show jumping rings – and much more.

Everyone in the Hadlow Group is hoping for good weather, a record attendance and a brilliantly successful show. It is our opportunity to celebrate so many of the good things undertaken in the Garden of England.

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