If you’re looking for old Rutland traditions, look no further: next week the 106th Uppingham Christmas Fatstock Show will take place in the town’s Market Place on Wednesday 28 November 2012.
This is a unique event, and – so my friend Andrew Leech of local auctioneers & chartered surveyors Richardson tells me – has been cancelled only by the intervention of war and two national ‘foot and mouth’ outbreaks. It’s unique in being the only event of its kind still held in the market square of a town, in temporary pens.
Uppingham’s weekly fatstock market sadly ended in 1954, but the annual Fatstock Show carried on and is one of the most prestigious events in the town’s calendar. Andrew calls it “a jewel in Rutland’s crown” and says I must go. I suspect there’s a lot of farming pride, competitive spirit and gossip, as well as the classes for cattle, sheep and pigs.
“Livestock entries for all classes are high for what should once again prove to be an excellent show,” forecasts show secretary Charles Richardson. “We are particularly proud to announce the introduction this year of a new Native Breed Cattle Class.”
The Market Place will be cleared on the evening before the show and the temporary penning erected where cars would normally park. Freshly bathed and brushed beasts will arrive from 7am and judging will take place at about 10am.
Prizes will be awarded and the presentation of challenge cups and special prizes will take place at approximately 11.30am, followed by a public auction of the pigs and sheep.
The entire show will be cleared, pens removed and the Market Place cleaned byearly afternoon – a logistical feat in its own right.
The Society’s guest for the show is Christopher Dodds, executive secretary of the Livestock Auctioneers Association. He will present the cups and trophies to the winning exhibitors and speak at the annual luncheon to be held immediately after the show in the Falcon Hotel, during which the Rutland farming community will no doubt eat, drink and be merry. Roll on Christmas!