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All set for city slickers

Try falconry at the Kent County Show
Try falconry at the Kent County Show

The Kent County Show may be best known for showcasing produce and livestock, but it isn’t all about flat caps and farmers. Maya Esslemont shares the top 10 things for even the most citybound family to enjoy at the Showground.

1. Be green at EcoVillage

The travelling exhibition teaches the curious about renewable resources and offers a range of educational activities. The EcoVillage will be packed with gadgets, entertainment, educational tools and demonstrations for all the family. It is also catering for foodies, offering live cooking lessons with organic products.

2. Become a falconer for the day

Get up close and personal to some of the nation’s most amazing birds in this renowned show by the Hawking Centre. Owls, eagles, buzzards, hawks, and falcons will be making the trip from their Doddington home to Detling. Visitors can watch the birds take flight in an interactive and educational demonstration which takes place in the Countryside Area and starts at 12.30pm each day of the show.

Pigs at the Kent County Show
Pigs at the Kent County Show

3. Cheer on your favourite ferret

This eccentric countryside pastime is big news again and animal welfare organisations, such as STA Ferret Rescue, will entertain audiences and raise awareness about keeping the animals. The show is completely safe for ferrets and good fun for humans. Visitors are encouraged to pick their favourite furry candidate and root for him or her to reach the finish line. The races are at 10am, noon and 2pm each day in the Countryside Area.

4. Satisfy your hunger at the Food Tent

With an assortment of homemade pies, seafood, cheese, chutneys and meats, even the most hungry of visitors will leave satisfied. Anyone with a sweet tooth will be able to indulge with a variety of chocolate and fudge, as well as Kent-produced ice cream which will please those who want to support the local economy. Children can enjoy a variety of fruit juices, while mum and dad can treat themselves to ginger teas, coffee, beer, lager or cider. Found next to the main entrance.

5. Become a Harley biker

Take the chance to ride a Harley-Davidson motorbike on Friday, July 13, courtesy of the manufacturer’s branch in Maidstone. Budding bikers can test drive the new Jumpstart bike. Riders do not need a licence. Call 01622 711680 to book a test in advance as there may be long queues on the day.

The Coakham Bloodhounds at the Kent County Show
The Coakham Bloodhounds at the Kent County Show

6. See a Second World War fighter plane

The inspiring spectacle of a Second World War Spitfire will fly low over the crowd. Jointly sponsored by Kent Crisps and Shepherd Neame, the Spitfire Mark Vb BM597 from the Historic Aircraft Collection is due to entertain the crowds at around midday on Friday, July 13 and about 4pm on Saturday, July 14.

7. Make friends with a cyborg

The 7ft 6in robot, Titan, returns by popular demand. The affable cyborg makes a habit of roaming the Showground in search of visitors to greet. He has been known to befriend a multitude of A-list stars on his travels such as Will Smith, Rihanna and Jackie Chan. Look out for Titan and he will pose for a picture next to you.

8. Cherry and Soft Fruit Show

These are the UK’s leading competitions for soft fruit and cherries. Judging takes place on Friday morning and the marquee is open to visitors after that. To take first prize is a major honour as the winning variety is sent by courier to Buckingham Palace so visitors know the very best juicy plums and raspberries will be on display. Anyone can buy the competition fruit and collect it on Sunday afternoon.

9. The Sheep Show

Learn the difference between sheep species and how the wool on a sheep’s back becomes the jumper on yours. The show hosts the legendary sheep shearing event, a highlight for many County Show goers, and the running commentary explains all there is to know about this countryside quirk. Farmers will make their animals dance in the Sheep Show Shuffle. The Sheep Show takes place each day at 10.30am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm and 4.30pm in the Countryside Area.

10. Woodland wonder

The wooded region of the Showground is a peaceful place to appreciate nature at its finest, away from the hustle and bustle of the main attractions. There are rural craft workshops for all ages, such as wicker basket making and thatching. Catch the woodland activity workshops at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm at the Woodlands.

The Kent County Show takes place at the Kent Showground, Detling, near Maidstone, from Friday, July 13 to Sunday, July 15 from 8am to 6pm. Visit www.kentshowground.co.uk or call 01622 633060. Tickets cost £20 adults, seniors £13, children £10 on Friday, £5 on Saturday and Sunday, families of four £50.

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