Penistone Show

The Show

Penistone's Big Annual Event
This big event first started in 1854, stopping only for two world wars. In modern times, Penistone Show is always on the second Saturday of September each year although it used to be around July in the old days. It is our most important and prestigious annual event and attracts large crowds and exhibitors from far and wide. See the year links below for photo galleries. There were no pictures for 2006.

Our Gift of Land
The Showground field was donated by a farmer for the people of Penistone to use as recreational land. Under the 1974 Local Government Re-organisation, Barnsley council absorbed it in and planned to build a large housing estate on it. Local people have seen those detailed street plans. That idea was shelved but eventually a new Tesco food store was allocated an acre of the Showground. From 2010's event, the Show had to move higher up into more distant fields, which were drained and planted with hard-wearing grass. The new supermarket had caused access and parking problems but the Show committee made great efforts to make it work. It worked well in the end.

SteamPoppi ChixSpitfire at the ShowShow Map 2011

2001 Show
Most of the UK's agricultural shows were cancelled in 2001 because of the devastating 'foot and mouth' cattle epidemic and Penistone Show was also very nearly cancelled. A good job that it wasn't, as this was a wonderful day and kept me occupied for nearly five hours. The weather stayed dry and windy but not cold and the sun was out more than it was in.

2002 Show
The 2002 show went ahead with some restrictions on livestock, after the effects of the 'foot & mouth' epidemic. There were no sheep or goats and the public were not allowed to touch farm animals. Even so, by all accounts there was plenty to see and do. Sorry, but I was on my jollies in Zakynthos and missed the 2002 show.

2003 Show
A gloriously sunny day with huge crowds. There were the usual displays of vintage vehicles, tree surgery, archery, wall building, camera club, horticulture, foods, handicrafts, hurdle making and much more. Unusually, this year's show had camel racing and ferret racing (cloth caps not a pre-requisite).

2004 Show
Very windy but dry and mostly sunny. Pretty much the same ingredients as previous years but a sheep display was introduced this year with a New Zealander doing an entertaining spiel. Little kids ran for it when he said that the sheep sometimes escape into the crowd. Thurlstone Brass Band did a rollicking good performance and a few green-wellied hunt supporters protested about the fox hunting ban.

2005 Show
A great wash-out and mud-bath year but yet Penistone was still a-buzzing. Not as many people on the Showground but enough to be viable in spite of the weather. Some stands left by 4pm. I spent most of my time at the Fire Station involved with with a charity bed-push.

2006 Show
A warm sunny day with what must have been record crowds. It had a new layout and there seemed to be more to look at but less happening, with less of a 'buzz' than usual. The marquees seemed to be more spacious. Some of the old favourites were there, such as the NZ sheep shearing but other things that I liked to see were missing, such as dry stone walling and the blacksmith's forge and I did not see a tug-o'-war. The dog show was bigger, in the area that 'Busy Bees' want to build on. I thought that there were fewer horsey events. Penistone FM had a small plot in a dead zone but Dismal Dearne had prime spot, with much jumping about to a largely disinterested crowd. It was a good day out but queues for refreshments were long. I did the civilised thing and nipped out for a nice cup of tea in the Vicarage cafe.

2007 Show
This year's show was, as ever, very busy with the usual wide range of exhibits, crafts, horticulture, animals, trade stands and what have you. In fact, I think that there was almost enough to see and do for a two-day event. The weather stayed fine if mostly cloudy but there was a hint of sun now and then. Thurlstone Brass Band played a fine Yorkshire medley which included 'Ilkley Moor' and 'Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill'. In another marquee, energetic young girls belted out a string of songs to an appreciative audience.

The dry-stone walling team were back but no sign of the blacksmiths. There was a display of wood cutting using power saws and in one marquee a man was cutting wood into intricate shapes. Prize flowers and vegetables adorned another marquee. Arts and crafts were in another and Penistone Photographic Club had their usual splendid exhibition. The hosey stuff went on as usual with some of the riders dressing up a bit more this year. I saw prize cattle but there were special measures with disinfectant because of this year's outbreak of foot and mouth disease. The real show-stealer was a spitfire fly-pass above the field. Fantastic.

2008 Show
Well, this one was nearly marred by the weather. It was a close thing. It rained for a while but it abated and the sun came out to save the day. As before, there appeared to be yet more to look at than before and I have to say that I went home almost in a state of exhaustion, after a beer and food at the Old Crown.

2009 Show
Well, after a while you begin to run out of superlatives. It was a great day and it's become a cliche to say that it had record crowds, estimated between 10,000 and 20,000 people. Show Day turned out to be gloriously sunny and the crowds came from near, far and beyond. New for this year was local radio station Penistone FM doing live link-ups with the studio. Camel-racing made a return appearance but the crowd was too deep for me to see anything. Dismal Dearne were low profile this year without a road show.

The Red Arrows aerobatic team were supposed to do a fly-over but they did not arrive until the Show had finished and everyone had gone home at 5.45pm. My thanks to Haydn Nichols for sending me the Red Arrows picture.

2010 Show
2009 Show mapThe Show came along during a period of rainy weather but it was sunny on the day and not very warm. It rained later for a while but wasn't a wash-out. This was the first Show after the Tesco was built and people were prevented from using the 'Town Centre Car Park', even the shoppers. In spite of all the new hindrances, it proved to be another good Show with most of the customary attractions. The armed forces might not have had any stands this year.

Vintage vehicles and steam machines were on view, as well as the usual marquees for horticulture, crafts, photography club, refreshments and so on. As usual, anything without a price-tag was expensive. The horsey events had a full itinerary. A team of handbell ringers produced some welcome sounds reminiscent of the old Thurlstone handbell ringers. So, all in all it was a fairly normal Show but perhaps with fewer visitors.

2011 Show
From the Events List: 9am 'to dusk', Showground. 50th Show since it closed for WW2. Adults £10, Senior £7, Child £2.50, Family Ticket £20 pre-show (max four children). Free parking. WW2 theme with 50-year marquee and wartime cookery demonstrations. Headline act is Chariots of Fire, where carriages are driven through blazing hoops. Family fun, horsey people, horsey rings, horsey smells, vintage vehicles, Thurlstone Brass Band, Barnsley Concert Band, assorted singers, entertainment rings, children's rides, puppet show, steam machines, dogs, pigs, goats, ferrets, poultry, cattle, ducks, sheep, poo, wellies, horticulture, photography, arts & crafts, NFU, military stands, local council, local radio, demonstrations, tree huggers, FoE anoraks, trading village, tranklements, binoculars, plants, hot food, ice cream, sandwich tent, veggie food, chips, rubber burgers and wobbly beer.

Fun at Previous Shows
It was very funny at an eighties show when events turned surreal. Tears of laughter. One of the locals, who had spent far too long in the beer tent, stumbled into an adjacent tent which had a live PA mike. For reasons best known to himself, he chose to defame the well known police constable 'Bobby Burton' in very colourful and entertaining language. This man was as good as any comedian and everyone howling with laughter. Then his voice suddenly cut out mid-sentence. The long arm of the law had reached out and, well, they sometimes call it a 'felt collar'. Another occasion was a mixture of horror and "There but for the Grace of God go I" smiles. A bolting horse had chosen to upturn a portaloo - with someone in it. Oh dear, more tears and not all of them laughter.

The official website: has full details of the next Penistone Show.

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