Free show getting bigger and better

The Pre Hee Men comedy cavemen act put on a display in the main arena at the Rotherham Show 2011
The Pre Hee Men comedy cavemen act put on a display in the main arena at the Rotherham Show 2011

Tens of thousands of people flocked to Clifton Park over the weekend for the annual Rotherham Show - billed as the largest free land show in the north of England.

The park was packed with crowds enjoying the late summer sun on Saturday and visitors who failed to let colder, windier weather dampen their spirits yesterday.

Organisers carried out checks on where people had come from and said it was well supported from across South Yorkshire - but some people travelled from as far as Glasgow, Nottingham and Dewsbury just to attend the event.

One of the biggest draws for visitors from other parts of the country was a vintage vehicle display on Saturday and a rally on Sunday which involved motorists driving through the streets of Rotherham in a procession led by the town’s mayor.

A funfair proved popular with children while displays by a bicycle stunt team attracted huge crowds of all ages, with heart-stopping tricks generating gasps of amazement and huge applause.

The riders, almost dancing on their bikes as they bunny hopped around their arena, jumped on to bikes, performed 360 degree turns and cycled along two-inch- wide raised platforms.

They even jumped onto and from the roof of a van in one spectacular stunt.

Phil Naylor, from Rotherham, said his seven-year-old son Ben had been mesmerised by the tricks the stuntmen performed.

“The tricks were brilliant - my son couldn’t take his eyes off the stuntmen. It’s unusual to be able to see things like this for free,” he added.

For younger children there were inflatable castles and slides to keep them entertained as well as go-karting and trampoline bungee jumping, which proved popular attractions.

There were also falconry displays, llamas, a horticultural show, brass band performances and live music.

Sarah Hooley, 33, from Dalton Magna, said it was her third visit to the show.

“I have been before and it certainly seems to be getting bigger and better. It’s great for the kids and it makes a change that something as good and big as this is free,” she added.

Margaret Oates, 58, from Swinton, attended the event with her grandchildren.

“I have come every year for the last 10 years - I like the atmosphere and it is something different to do with the children at the weekend,” she added.

“Rotherham doesn’t always get the best press so this show paints us in a positive light - it is something the town should be proud of.”

Sherry Keys, 38, from Whiston, who took her grandmother to the event, said: “It’s not just for the young, there is something here for everybody - the only thing it is missing is a zebra! It has absolutely everything you could possibly think of.”

Rotherham Council leader Coun Roger Stone said: “Around 80,000 people visit the show every year to make this event the spectacular occasion that it always is.

“The largest free land show in the north of England takes place here. It’s a statement that fills me with immense pride. There are literally hundreds of things for you and your family to do,

“An occasion such as this, and a show of this size, does not just happen - I have to pass on my thanks to the team that put the whole thing together. They work all year round to make sure that this weekend remains firmly in your calendar.

“I always say that the most important thing when you want something to be a success is the people involved who put this event together - I truly appreciate what they do and applaud them.”