The summer spectacle that is the Melplash Show once again cemented its standing as an unmissable summer event for locals and those from further afield.
Basking in a sweltering heat, thousands of visitors made their way into the fields alongside West Bay Road for a day of family fun, agricultural excellence and the promotion of this glorious region.
It has been many years since I’ve visited my hometown’s annual attraction and I was amazed at the growth which has occurred over the years. More stalls, more animals, more food choices, more beer in the large Palmers beer tent, and many more people – when I thought there were lots of people at 10am little did I know that the volume would at least treble.
The standard of stalls and stands that the Melplash Show manages to attract is a brilliant reflection of the high regard in which it is held. There was a great mix, with local businesses laying on drinks and nibbles, to boutique jewellery and handbags, more expensive cars on offer (some with special Melplash Show prices!) and quite important for many people I’m sure, lots of free samples and goody bags.
The main arena had a full programme of special shows during the day, with horse riding, falconry and dog shows. Ferret racing and rock climbing were also available to keep people entertained.
Visitors were certainly spoilt for choice when it came to their gastronomic choices. Highlights around the showground include fresh strawberries and cream, a hog roast, fish and chips and that isn’t including the grand food tent. This large marquee was crammed from top to bottom with some of the best local produce available, with homemade lamb burgers on offer next to North African-inspired tagines, gourmet marshmallows being tasted before shots of Dorset milk vodka.
An ideal day out for the family, many children will have gone home from the Melplash Show with stories to tell their friends, especially with the start of the school year just around the corner. I know that some from this year include getting stuck on the helter skelter and getting stung by a bee.
One important aspect which mustn’t be forgotten is the farming features of the show. Still as prevalent as always, throughout the day there were a large number of competitions for animals from the farms in the area, all seemingly well attended. This is still very much an agricultural show, with children and adults enjoying getting up close and personal with some friendly farm animals.
If you are holidaying in the area or if you are a permanent resident I fully believe the Melplash Show remains a fantastic day out. There is, to use a rather clichéd term, something for everyone and, as this year showed, the sun, a relaxed atmosphere and a pint of Bridport bitter is enough for most people to enjoy themselves.
Words and pictures by Benjamin Parker.