After the cancellation of the newly-added 2014 Holkham Country Fair, the event has now reverted to the bi-annual format of the last full weekend of July. The various vintage exhibits had also reverted to their former positions and for the National Vintage Tractor & Engine Club's East Anglia Group were more formalised than previously had been the case. After criticism two years ago from the stationary engine exhibitors, the Club had played safe with a reduced number of entries but the show organisers had honoured their commitment to space and we were given a whole avenue top-to-bottom parallel to the trade stands with tractors, horticultural, models & bygones on side, stationary engines the other, all good news for the future.
Tractor-wise, we had examples of International, Ford & Fordson, Ferguson & Massey-Ferguson, Field-Marshall, Turner, Case, Nuffield, Renault, Porsche & Ransomes. Engines represented were Lister, Ruston Hornsby, Amanco, Wolseley, Petter, Fairbanks Morse and International Harvester. Malcolm Bush brought along his awning display of John Deere models and memorabilia, and Jim & Mel Wakefield and Frank Markham brought along horticultural machinery to display. The Norfolk Military Vehicle Group are normally a little further down the hill but they drew the short straw this time, being situated behind the stationary engine camping. However, there was only a small display including a Bedford D-type in RAF colours, GMC workshop vehicle and a couple of Land Rovers. The Series I Land Rover Club, however, had a good display of around a dozen vehicles facing the lake.
The Friday night had seen freak gale force winds give an uncomfortable night to campers and exhibitors alike and the forecast for early Saturday was not good, so the numbers of classic & vintage cars aligned in front of the Hall's southern garden wall were not as numerous as expected, however, a couple of late-comers brought out some early vintage cars which one expects at Holkham. Marques represented included Rover, Triumph, Toyota, MG, Austin, Ford, Daimler, Jaguar, Armstrong-Siddeley & Rolls-Royce.
There was not quite as many trade stands and stalls as in previous years, but I think that's typical of all events by-and-large. However, the food and drink court was back in its usual face on the north side of the house and certainly included some variety of cultures to choose from. The country pursuits were not so obvious in their presentation as older shows but I'm sure were still very much available to those who wanted to search them out.
One thing that did stir me up was the very high police presence, 5 or 6 vehicles and up to a dozen officers. The lead man was quick the justify the numbers on the basis that the "officers" were either volunteer Specials or PCSOs, but whatever they are, police around our way in the Fens only come out en-masse to do a drugs bust and are hardly ever seen at all unless they've been called out on a 999 call. Perhaps Norfolk work to different standards to Cambridgeshire, but Tony Martin would probably disagree with that statement!
The ring entertainment provided the usual mix for these sort of shows, that is, Mounted Games, The Band of The Royal Anglian Regiment, The Dog & Duck Show, Stampede Stunt Company, birds of prey, parachute display team, aerobatic display, and elsewhere on the showground, the Sheep Show. Considering the show opens relatively early, the ring events do not start until 10.45 but do continue until Beating Retreat at 6.15 each evening.
The change of layout for 2015 would make it viable to attend for the whole weekend again, but it is likely to clash with Heckington Show but probably not until 2017. Dates to follow when available.