TRADE stands are what keep the shows on the road, and Cheshire's own spectacular is no exception.
More than 500 firms and interest groups took space at this year's event, making a record five miles of displays, with stands in the food hall, the shopping mall, the cheese marquee, the craft mews, flower marquee and game fair, with a great many scattered liberally round the showground.
If you wanted an Australian hat or an ostrich steak, some different chutney or a combine harvester, there would be plenty to choose from, while for the thrill seekers, there were bouncy castles and a dinosaur safari staged by Black-pool Zoo.
Cheshire Freemasons made a significant step by staging their first marquee display at the show with the message: 'What's the big secret?' answered by 'It's no secret!
For those with an interest in the offbeat, HM Revenue and Customs exhibited a polar bear's skin and a baboon's skull, together with a monitor lizard handbag, as examples of illegal items that often get seized at our airports.
On a more serious note, officers were there to tell the showgoers what they could safely and legally bring into the country from abroad. Part of their dis-play included a football which had been used in an unsuccessful attempt to smuggle illegal drugs into the country.
Reaseheath College took the opportunity to use the show as a launchpad for its new foundation degrees in agriculture, one in herd management and one in mixed farming, while also securing a hat-trick for the best non trade stand, for the third year running.
Awards also went to Malpas Tractors, Frank Marshall and Co, Lookers, and Valley Arts and Crafts. Two awards went to British Waterways.
Varied taste in food treats > > >
Varied taste in food treats
THERE'S a whole large triple pavilion for food at the Cheshire Show, with a steadily growing cheese section lined up down the centre, with plenty of brisk trade going on all round from stalls selling everything from Greek olives to ostrich steaks.
There was a time when the Cheshire featured a great deal of the county's own cheese, and not much else, but there is a lot more variety on the trestle tables these days, with a whole section for additive types, just to show what can be done by working round a single theme.
The Tuesday morning judging produced good results for the surviving Cheshire specialists, with the NFU Trophy going to Windsors Farmhouse Cheese, and Whitchurch neighbours Beltons taking the Westminster and the Farmhouse Federation Awards, while farther across into Cheshire, Joe Heler, nearer to Nantwich, won the Farmhouse Lancashire.
The class results showed the degree of competition, with Windsors opening with the best show dressed Cheshire, but coming second to Beltons for Cheshire White, with Beltons also in third place.
The order switched again for Cheshire coloured with Windsors first, Beltons second and Helers third, but Helers secured tops for Cheddar and Lancashire and for Speciality blended cheese.
The Malpas based Cheese Company came in to win the Red Leicester and Double Gloucester, with another first for the Children's Choice.