Organisers of Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show plan to re-unite the rural community safely over two days in August.

Last year’s one-day show was cancelled because of the COVID-19 restrictions.

The show’s management board decided to go ahead this year, for the first time ever, over two days on Wednesday and Thursday, August 18 and 19. They will ensure the show is safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by limiting visitor numbers over the two days, complying with social distancing and all event regulation requirements in August.

Show secretary James Cox said: “We took the decision during these dark days of lockdown with the best of intentions. For more than 100 years, the show has brought together the community and celebrated the very best of the Great British Countryside. We hope today’s announcement will bring hope and optimism that better days will come.

“Visitors will be provided with a safe and enjoyable family day out this summer. For farmers, we will bring back the networking event offering the opportunity to meet buyers, suppliers, machinery dealers, and of course, fellow farmers after an isolated year.

“If you are a business struggling during lockdown, we will re-open our gates this summer and put you, the producer, in contact with the consumer. We are proud to play our part in the recovery of our region’s economy and will do our bit by offering businesses a discounted rate to trade at the 2021 show to assist with the costs associated with a two-day show and to help those businesses which have suffered during 2020.”

Show considered options before this decision. Many months under ever-changing rules were spent evaluating how to make a safe return under the new normal. While the hope is that the vaccine roll-out could indicate normality resumes by August, as a business and charity it had to be prepared for all eventualities.

“The only decision possible other than cancellation, was to ensure a return with or without COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing. The show will be COVID Secure and compliant to meet all Government and local authorities’ regulations at the time. The health and safety of our visitors, competitors, stewards, members and community are our highest priorities: you are the show,” James stressed.

Among restrictions are: limited number of tickets, with none available to buy on the day; some competitive classes omitted;livestock and equine classes over the two days, with livestock only on the day or night before their class; strict cleaning protocols throughout; less marquees; wider avenues; sanitising and handwashing stations.

“But new exciting areas are promised such as Food & Drink featuring picnic tipis surrounded by mouth-watering local artisan producers. While we live through a time of regulations and rules, just like any year we are dedicated to being an entertaining, relaxed rural day out for the whole family showcasing our traditions, heritage and modern life in Agriculture and the Countryside along with the craftsman within it,” said James.

2021 Turnpike Showground Dates:
Food & Crafts Market:
Sunday March 21
Food & Crafts Market:
Sunday April 18
Food & Crafts Market:
Sunday May 30
Food & Crafts Market:
Sunday June 27

Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show: Wednesday August 18 and 19.
Markets will be subject to the COVID-19 restrictions. Visit: