By Newport Show President, Tony Asson
Although the show only happens once a year (always the second Saturday in July), organising it is a 365-day a year job I’ve found since becoming President.
And with such a phenomenal show last year, the pressure is on to make sure we deliver something even bigger and better on July 14!
Over the winter months, we’ve welcomed a new show manager Sally Western. She’s taken over from Clare Farrell, our event manager of 14 years, who has helped to develop the show into the great family day out it is today.
Sally has a background in the countryside and is passionate about local food and education so she’ll be putting some exciting plans into action as she settles into her post.
I also volunteer as Chairman of the Festival of Food committee so much of my winter has been spent negotiating with agents of celebrity chefs to secure some exciting guest stars.
I’m delighted that Steven Carter-Bailey, one of the runners up in the last series of the Great British Bake Off, will be one of the stars giving live demonstrations in the food theatre.
He is incredibly talented and will no doubt be sharing some backstage Bake Off stories as he demonstrates his recipes. We’ve also been able to book two barbecue specialists who run a smokehouse in Wales and are about to star in their BBC TV show. What they don’t know about barbecuing isn’t worth knowing so they are ones not to miss.
During the winter months, we also spend a lot of time looking at the show that just took place and deciding what to do to enhance the experience of our exhibitors and visitors.
Sometimes it’s only small changes we make such as the addition of new classes for commercial beef and Shropshire sheep. Other changes this year will see the amalgamation of the antiques and shopping area to create a countryside retail village and the expansion of the Education Hub to reinforce the links between agriculture and food.
We’re also going to continue with live music as it proved so popular last year and added an extra dimension to the show. We’ll be sharing more on that as we get closer to show day so watch this space!