More than 5,000 people visited the Greatest Online Agricultural Show, a virtual replacement for the shows that have been cancelled this summer.
The show had everything a real-life show has. There were trade stands, livestock shows, a beer tent and more. The event raised £16,000 for R.A.B.I, RSABI, FCN, the DPJ Foundation and YANA.
It all started six weeks ago when David Hill, an estate manager in Berkshire, had an idea. He explained: “It was the week when the Royal Highlands show was cancelled, then the Royal Welsh was cancelled. Driving into work past the Berkshire County Showground, something about it that morning seemed extra empty. It seemed dark and sad. Sitting in the office, I thought ‘I wonder if we can do something fun online.’
“The problem with Twitter is you tweet about something before you’ve thought about it. Within minutes, I’d been jumped on, I had so many people asking ‘can we have a dog show? Can we have a beer tent?’”
Andrew Lazenby, CEO of Innovation for Agriculture, got in touch with David an offered to help build a website for the show. Other organisations supported the initiative by donating prizes, sponsoring zones and providing content for the arena displays.
The highlights of the main arena included a performance by the JCB Dancing Diggers, a display by the Red Arrows, a clip of the Vulcan’s last flight, and a virtual hot air balloon launch. Live bands provided entertainment throughout the day and rounded up the event with an end of show disco party.
Farmers were able to enter the livestock, equestrian and dog shows by submitting photos and videos of their animals. Voting was open to the public and more than 1,000 people took part in the poll. The winners of each class can be found on Twitter.
David added: “For farming, it’s been a really difficult year. We’ve had the worst, wet winter for a long time. Everyone just needed a laugh and a bit of fun.
“The event supported five rural welfare charities. I’ve experienced what they can do firsthand at times when I’ve been advising on BPS payments. Those charities have really stepped up to the mark.
“They’re stretched more than ever and they’re losing their opportunities to fundraise. They really need our help at the moment.”