THE season of country shows has arrived and, with agriculture at the heart of each event, be sure to add these unmissable dates to your diary.

Gilsland Agricultural Show

Just like its first show in 1915, horses, ponies, dogs and sheep remain a fixture of the show to this day.

Taking place this year on Saturday, August 4 at Trierman Farm, classes include horse and pony, cattle, sheep and collie, Terrier and gun dog, with the top in each battling it out for the coveted Champion and of Champions title, judged by Martin Graham.

Show-goers are also invited to put their strength to the test by competing in the traditional tug-of-war competition, in either the male, female or junior category, or show off their home-made skills in the Industrial judging.

Slaley Show

Celebrating its 160th birthday this year on Saturday, August 10 at Townhead, this classic agriculture show has thrived thanks to the hard work of successive generations, who have worked hard to maintain the Victorian tradition of an annual ‘get-together’ for local people, complete with friendly rivalry.

The main ring will play host to the highly anticipated horse jumping competitions and sheep judging, alongside family entertainment such as the thrilling falconry display and the always popular Cumberland & Westmorland wrestling performance. The ferret racing event and the much-loved hound parade are also a must-watch.

Allendale Agricultural Show

Returning on Saturday, August 17 at Riding Haughs, Allendale Show will hold a wide range of show classes including more than 40 in-hand, ridden and jumping equestrian classes on the day, and of course its annual sheep show, a proud tradition from the show’s origins.

The main attractions this year are The Jez Avery Stunt Show and Circus Avago performers, alongside vintage vehicles, terrier racing, tug o’ war and quoits.

A day at the show wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the industrial marquee to view the impressive range of traditional bakes, home-made jams and woodwork sculptures.

Bellingham Show and Country Festival

With its always hotly contested sheep section, with this year no doubt being no exception, there is always a good turn out of local agriculture talent at Bellingham show.

Running on August 31, traditional entertainment will also be on offer for all ages, with highlights such as equestrian stunt team Riders on the Storm making an appearance, and a chance to ride over the North Tyne in a helicopter, an activity which hasn’t been seen at the show since the early 90s.

Weardale Show

Holding cattle, sheep judging, Huacaya Alpaca display, and a dog and duck show are just some of the sections Weardale Show will hold on Saturday, August 31 at St. John’s Chapel.

The Countryside Tent will also be host a wide range of exhibitors related to country pursuits, which include Weardale Beagles, Weardale Bees and Deer Society.

Other competitions on the day include horticultural and floral arts, produce and handicraft, dry stone walling and photography.

To mark its 150th birthday, the show will open a special Victorian tea party, in a vintage-themed tent, which pays homage to its roots.

Wolsingham Show

Running from Saturday, September 7 to Sunday, September 8 at Scotch Isle Park, Wolsingham kicks off its weekend of events with its Agricultural Day, complete with a range of livestock shows including cattle and sheep, fur and feather marquee and goat and pig show.

The unmissable ‘Josephs Racing Pigs’ show is bound to fill the area with amusing antics as six rare breed pigs, from Tamworths to Saddlebacks will hurl themselves over hurdles for the promise of food from their handlers.

On Sunday’s County Fair day guests can check out the ferret show, artisan food market and vintage vehicle display.