In the midst of a good deal of difficulty in the world the annual rituals of the Kent Show are a great consolation. It always helps when the weather shines on it, as it did when I visited on the Friday, but in any case it is a reminder of the permanent rhythms of life in the County.
This year was the 100th anniversary of the Show, which made it all the more special. It has only been in its current location at Detling since the 1960s, and in its early years travelled around the county.
I was fascinated to discover that it took place in Ashford once in the 1920. Even more noteworthy was the view of the site in Kennington, which because of the vagaries of 1920’s photography looked as though it was overshadowed by a large mountain. Educated guesswork suggests this was the hills above Wye which are now adorned by the Crown.
Of course at its heart the Show is an agricultural event, and many of the events in the show rings reflect this, with livestock competitions an important part of the entertainment. But it has grown beyond the traditional farming interests, and one of the best-attended areas is the Produced in Kent section. My family are still enjoying the cherries I came away with.
It was also good to be reminded of the fast-growing wine industry in Kent. This is a huge success story for the County, and an interesting example of how it has been created by a mixture of keen individuals setting up small-scale operations and some of the most prestigious names in the international wine trade deciding to set up new operations in Kent.
So here’s to the next hundred years of the Kent Show. It is a rare chance for the whole county to come together and celebrate what makes it unique.