As the world stands still the show goes on in a Dales village

Askrigg produce show in 2020.

By Betsy Everett

The Askrigg produce show will not be cancelled this year despite restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

With social distancing still in place, and a continuing ban on larger gatherings, organisers have captured the spirit of enterprise and innovation which inspired the first show nearly 80 years ago, and come up with a novel way to keep the show on the road.

Committee chairman Mike Dechezeaux said: “Our strap line for this year is ‘The show must go on-line’ which sums up our approach nicely. We are not cancelling the show, just doing things differently.

“We certainly won’t be holding a show dance in the evening as was the custom in the early days, but we want as many people to enter as possible to make this a  real success despite the dreadful effects of the pandemic.”

There is a dedicated website – www.askriggproduceshow.weebly.com – where prospective exhibitors and visitors can find full details, explore the schedule and see how to enter.

Every one a winner at the 2019 show


“It will be rather different from previous years in that exhibitors will be able to photograph their exhibits from the best angle and position to show off their labours most effectively. They will also be able to look at the competition to see what the standard of entries is like, but we hope this won’t put anyone off,.”

Photos of exhibits can be sent to askriggshow2020@btinternet.com – there is a link from the website – or via Facebook or Instagram: search for Askrigg Produce Show.

Entries will be accepted up to midnight on Friday, August 28, and judging will take place remotely by an expert team. Winners will be announced on the website and through social media at around midday on ‘show day’, Sunday, August 30.

There will be no cups or trophies this year but vouchers to spend locally will be awarded to the winning children in each age group.

The Askrigg and District Produce Association began in 1941, at the height of the Dig for Victory campaign, and has continued without a break ever since in the temperance (village) hall.  Mike and his committee, a dedicated and talented team who have run the show for several years, were determined to work round this year’s seemingly insurmountable obstacles, bringing the show to as many people as possible, and gaining an audience abroad as well.

“We’ve asked any non-locals to say where they come from and we think perhaps we might attract some future international visitors to the show when we return to normality next year. We have had to alter the schedule a fair bit to allow for the fact that entries will be made by photograph. So no tipples or preserves, a very much reduced bakery section, but some extra classes that reflect the current situation,” says Mike.

“The floral art section will have a class entitled  “rainbows,” in handicrafts there will be a class for hand-made anti-virus face masks, and there will be a Lockdown Limerick class.”

Committee secretary is Karen Jones, treasurer, Alan MacDonald, and other members are Jill Wooley, Paula Hague, Rhian Liddell, Liz Connelly, Martin Garside, Mary MacDonald and Malcolm Carruthers. They are normally assisted by a large band of helpers on the day.

Says Mike: “We have used email for most of our decision making but we also had a couple of Zoom meetings which were very productive and great fun. So nice to see everyone after such a long while and I think having a limited time for the meetings meant we were more focussed than usual.”

The show is open to residents of Askrigg, Low Abbotside and Bainbridge, but also gives visitors a chance to compete.

“I already have a very keen follower on Instagram from Finland!” says Mike.

 

Admiring the exhibits at last year’s show.