Tag Archives: Wensleydale Show

Wensleydale Show 2011

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Image by RayMorris1 via Flickr

The best country show in Yorkshire!

One of the events I always look forward to is the Wensleydale Show which takes place just outside of Leyburn, North Yorkshireon the Saturday of the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Country Life

For anyone interested in rural life, farming and the countryside there can be no better show to visit. A walk round the numerous stalls, exhibitions and displays is not only interesting but also highly educational.

Vintage Machinery

I am always fascinated by the wonderful displays of vintage farm machinery, tractors, vehicles, tools and particularly the old steam engines. The latter have all been carefully restored and maintained so that they are in full working order.

Food and Drink

For those who enjoy eating there is endless variety. There are lots of quality fast food vans offering burgers, hot dog, chips, tea and coffee.  There are also many stalls selling home-made food, cakes, pies, preserves for those wishing to purchase a treat to take home with them.

Arena Entertainment

There is an ongoing programme of entertainment in the main arena throughout the day. This year featured all the regulars such as the vintage cars, fox hounds from the Bedale Hunt, dog agility, sheep dog displays etc. The main arena is a great place to sit and relax and watch the various acts and displays.

Children’s Entertainment

As usual there was plenty to keep the little ones entertained. There were bouncy castles, a massive inflatable slide, go karts, trampolines, kiddies rides and of course Punch and Judy.

The weather was kind for most of the day although we did get wet later in the afternoon. The photos below give an idea of the many different things to see and do. A great day out, can’t wait for next year.

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Traditional Amusements | Chair O Plane Ride

This Chair O Plane Ride is owned by Craske’s Traditional Amusements. I took this film clip at the 2010 Wensleydale show where I was performing my Tradtional Punch and Judy Show. It’s great to see these lovely old fashioned kiddies rides still operating and as popular as ever. This footage was taken before the public arrived. It was soon busy once the crowds turned up.


For more information or to hire this ride call Jeremy Craske on 01609 777238 or Andrew Craske on 01969 663408.

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Wensleydale Show 2010

The weather was fairly kind at the Wensleydale Show this year. A bit breezy but sunny and warm. There was one terrific down pour of rain at about 2.30pm but it soon cleared up and the sun came out again.  I always enjoy this event as there is so much to see, especially if you are interested in country life. There are displays in the main arena throughout the day and the commentator is very knowledgeable about farming and the countryside which makes everything so much more interesting. There are loads of traders selling all kinds of goods, a fantastic craft marquee, the Leyburn Brass Band, fairground rides and bouncy castles for the kids, farm animals, vintage cars and machinery, beagles, hounds, horses, falconry and lots of food and refreshments. Definitely a great day out for the whole family.

The show takes place on a field just outside of Leyburn on the way in from Bellerby at the side of the A6108. I always like the view as approaching Leyburn from the Richmond side.

Wensleydale Show 2010, view from Bellerby side

Wensleydale Show in the distance.

I was at the show performing Punch and Judy as I have for quite a few years.

Last year was very difficult as I was sited on a very exposed piece of high ground and the winds were extremely strong. I was quite literally hanging on to the puppet theatre during the last show to stop it blowing away even though I was well and truly anchored down. The organisers used to have a marquee for the children’s entertainment but decided on grounds of cost to dispense with this which is a shame because it is always better to be under cover.

I had three brilliant audiences this year. Lots of children and families all gathering round and joining in with gusto to the antics of old red nose. Some nice compliments too. Not so many people turned up for the last show as the rain had dispersed the crowds by then. Still, those who did come seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Behind the scenes at the Wensleydale Show

Behind the scenes of the Punch and Judy Show

There is a huge amount of work required to organise and run an event of this kind. I hope the Wensleydale Show continues to be supported by the general public as it is such a fantastic day out.

Put it in your diary for Bank Holiday Weekend, August 2011. It’s going to be another good one!

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Do You Suffer From Wind?

This may seem a rather rude way to start a conversation. After all suffering from wind is a rather personal matter and when it manifests itself in public it can be embarrassing. As a Punch and Judy Man suffering from wind takes on a whole new meaning. For most people a sudden blast of wind results in a red face and possibly the words ” I’m terribly sorry” or else we blame the poor dog. For me a sudden blast of wind in the middle of a Punch And Judy Show can mean disaster. Now I’ve always fancied learning to fly but I’d rather do it in an aeroplane than in a Punch And Judy Booth. The problem I have is not my age or what I ate for dinner, it’s the size of my ” fit up”. I’m proud to say I’ve got a big one. No, I’m not bragging. It’s a whopper! My Punch And Judy show is a fair size. I like to be seen and I like my audience to be able to see me too. The down size of having a big one is that it acts like a sail and its natural tendency is to want to lift off in anything more than a strong breeze. I’ve never actually got into full flight but I’ve come pretty close to it.

I once nearly blew into the Manchester Ship Canal whilst working at the Imperial War Museum North. We were set up on the quayside and fortunately Hazel was with me. As the day went on the wind grew stronger and although IWM staff had provided big metal weights for us to tie down to we were still straining at the leash to be up up and away. Hazel was hanging onto the frame for grim death behind me and I had one hand in Mr Punch and the other clinging onto the frame at the side a bit like a chimpanzee hanging onto a branch. I got through my last performance by the skin of my teeth and then with Hazel’s help we managed to break down the show before we were picked up and deposited in the icy waters close by. The main stage was not so lucky. We witnessed a most extraordinary sight. The entire structure was lifted off the ground. Now I’m not talking about a tiddly little thing, this was a proper stage where moment before a full swing band had been performing. It had an an aluminium structure with a roof over the top. At the exact moment of lift off Hazel and I were lying spread eagle on Mr Punch’s cover trying to fold it up. I saw men running towards the stage from all directions, eveyone grabbing a hold and hanging on tight. Luckily there were enough people to stabilize it…but only just. It too very nearly ended up in the canal.

Another memorable occassion was on the beach at Saltburn By The Sea in North Yorkshire. When a carried my gear down onto the sands it was a perfectly lovely summers day. Blue sky, warm and sunny. As the day went by and the tide started to come in behind me I noticed the breeze picking up. I realised I needed extra anchorage and so started collecting rocks to use as weights. As the breeze increased in strength the more rocks I needed. I started to wonder wether I should be going on a Dry Stone Walling course. By the time I did my last show it really was a battle with the elements, trying to work the puppets and hang onto the booth in the face of an impending gale with my little Sanger of rocks around me, and the sea coming up fast behind. I’m sure that the audience were taking bets on how far into the North Sea I would be blown. It sure beats wind surfing. Fortunately I avoided being swept away and the audience left perhaps slightly disappointed as a flying Punch and Judy Show is not something you see every day.

My most recent experience of near flight came last August at the Wensleydale Show. In past years they have put me inside a marquee so contending with the elements isn’t a problem. Unfortunately this time due to budget constraints there was no marquee and the person in charge put me on top of the hill. If you have never been to the Wensleydale Show then I strongly recommend it. There is so much to see and do and the view from the top of the hill is splendid. Unfortunately the top of the hill is not a good place to site a Punch And Judy Show when its windy and boy was it windy. Now I like a challenge so when the man told me this was my location the army training kicked in. I was determined to hold my ground at all costs. Although it was a struggle just to set up, I managed it and I used all my ratchet straps and ground anchors to lock myself down. My saving grace was that my fit up has a metal framework and is therefore reasonably strong. The entire afternoon was a massive struggle not only to perform but just to avoid being carried away. I had visions of folk down in Leyburn looking up and saying ” is it a bird? Is it a bee? No…it’s…it’s…it’s a Punch And Judy Show!  Against all the odds I did do my four shows and I did stay on the field. It was a relief to hear that next year they are moving me to somewhere less exposed. Oh joy!

As its winter I’m not suffering from wind at the moment. When summer comes and you are struggling to keep your hat on just think of me. I might be on a beach or on top of a hill somewhere facing a far greater problem. Keep smiling!

Has anything like this ever happened to you? ie tent blowing away on a camping trip, embarrassing moments with clothing in the wind etc. If you have a funny story to tell please share it with me.

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