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Spring sunshine draws in crowds for Otley Show
Record numbers of visitors turned out to enjoy Otley Show in dazzling spring sunshine.
The fine weather on Saturday encouraged thousands of people to flock to the historic agricultural event – leading to long tailbacks in the town centre.
They were treated to everything from shire horses, showjumping and livestock displays to more modern attractions, including an exhibition of US Army vehicles, complete with mounted machine guns.
Younger visitors were kept entertained by the likes of donkey rides, giant inflatables, bungee swings, a climbing wall and mini quad bikes, along with some very cute animals including pygmy goat kids.
Otley Sailing Club was also, in a first for the show, helping lots of aspiring sailors of all ages take boats out on the lake beside the Bridge End showground.
Commodore Paul Karran said: “This is the first time we’ve sailed on the lake for the show and we’ve had a fantastic response from the public and been very busy.
“A lot of members worked very hard to organise this and, with it proving so popular, we’re hoping to make it an annual event.
“The conditions have been great for sailing and we’ve had a great time.”
Live music, courtesy of artists performing at the Otley Folk Club tent and Otley Brass Band, provided a rousing backdrop to proceedings as tunes carried on the breeze.
Elsewhere, cyclists young and old pitted their leg strength against Otley Cycle Club’s 500 metre challenge, on static bikes, while Otley Lions encouraged people to try their hand at smashing crockery.
Other popular attractions included spinning, woodturning and dry stone walling demonstrations, ferret races from Otley Ferret Welfare, the Sheep Show and a horseshoe making display by Yorkshire Farriers.
The many marquees, including those for trade stands, poultry and pigeons, and rabbits were also busy with visitors taking the chance to escape the sun while having a look around.
Ben Potter’s Birds of Prey show, featuring giant eagles and vultures, also proved a hit, as did main arena attraction Gulliver’s Carnival, by the Stampede Stunt Company.
Hundreds of people crowded around the show field to cheer on the costumed riders as they, directed by a compere on stilts, performed all kinds of death-defying equestrian feats.
Delighted show secretary Janet Raw, speaking on the day, said: “It’s been a great show. We have had a lot of people, probably record numbers, coming with all the car parks full by 11.30am!
“Luckily a farmer kindly opened another field for us to use.
“I’m relieved, we were due a nice sunny day and it’s very rewarding to get one.
“It’s been good for all our hard working stewards too, who normally have to look out their wet weather gear.”