VIDEO: All go in Harrogate for the Great Yorkshire Show

The Great Yorkshire Show Ground was a hive of activity today as the preparations get under way for tomorrow’s opening day.

Animals are being cleaned, stalls are being set up, and everyone involved, including around 400 stewards, is preparing the ground for one of the biggest events in the Harrogate calendar.

Ellie Inman, 4, with her sheep Blossom. (Jonathan Pow /

Ellie Inman, 4, with her sheep Blossom. (Jonathan Pow /

Show director Bill Cowling was especially busy today, riding around in his golf buggy and making sure everything is running smoothy.

“At this time it is an absolute hive of activity, and you tend to think it can’t possibly be finished in time, but of course it will,” he said.

“A lot of the trade stands did a lot more last week because of the challenges of the Tour de France, but that was great and most of the livestock seems to be in, so this is just where we would like to be on a Monday.”

For tomorrow the traders will have an early start, putting the finishing touches to their stands, as will the farmers who will be tending to their livestock.

Everything will then be in place when the Countess of Wessex visits the Show Ground later in the morning.

Mr Cowling said: “I usually get here some time after 6am, as most other stewards will be. We always start the day with a short church service on the bandstand, and that is a nice way to start and to set us in the right mood.

“It is an exciting day tomorrow with a very full tour of the Show Ground and the Countess of Wessex coming. It is an exciting day anyway, but this has added excitement because she hasn’t been before and it is a huge honour, not just for the Great Yorkshire Show, but also for the Harrogate district in general.”

And with two days packed with activity after the opening tomorrow, with a visit from the Princess Royal, the spectacle of the horse-riding events, and prize-giving throughout the show, many people find it difficult to pick a favourite day.

Yorkshire Agricultural Society chief executive Nigel Pulling is especially looking forward to the day.

He said: “It is the highlight of our year, so it is the most important three days of the year for us and we are really looking forward to it.

“At the moment my favourite think is the excitement of everybody looking forward to the day. You see people you haven’t seen for a year and everyone is enthusiastic for it.

“However, Royal visitors just add a gloss to the show because we have something like 400 volunteers helping us steward and if they get the chance to meet royalty it is a treat for them and it establishes the importance of the show.”

For full coverage of the Great Yorkshire Show, see this week’s newspaper, out on Thursday, July 10.