The Northampton Agricultural Show is getting a facelift this year, but organisers assure locals the farming roots of the event will remain front and centre.
There was some concern the show — now in its 104th year — would not be able to go ahead because of volunteer shortages.
But upon his return to his hometown to work in agriculture during the COVID pandemic, Northampton-born Fred Porter put up his hand to use his events management background to breathe new life into the show.
He was subsequently elected Northampton District Agricultural Society president and got to work making his vision for the show a reality.
Mr Porter understood why some locals fatigued by the cyclone Seroja recovery effort would be unable to volunteer this year, but he said he felt it was important for the event to go ahead.
“Given all the challenges the community has been through, I completely get it that people want to take a year off. But there was also a great fear that a year off would spell the demise of the entire thing,” he said.
“It was really important to me to reboot it and revitalise it for Northampton and for the Mid West.”
Not wanting to give too much away, Mr Porter said show guests would be treated to a “huge entertainment line-up” and “next-level” food and drink offerings.
“There are some really big stars coming this year of a calibre that has not performed at an agriculture show,” he said.
“We will be paying homage and respect to all the old traditions and keeping as much as we possibly can going, but definitely expect to see more additions this year.”
He said this year’s event would also be the most inclusive in the show’s history.
“We are talking to all community groups and seeing how we can best activate them and get everyone involved from all walks of life, all cultures, all nationalities, all sexualities, everything,” he said.
“We are also looking at a sensory hour where we open up the show an hour earlier for people who may struggle with bright lights and big crowds.”
The show is scheduled for September 17, with more information to be available when the new event website is launched on July 1.