The Game Fair has long been one of our country's favourite annual countryside events, there really is nothing quite like it in my opinion. With this year's even now only four weeks away, I thought it would be nice to share with your last Summer's inside look and conversation with James Gower, MD of The Game Fair.
The Game Fair truly is a one of a kind, three day country lifestyle celebration. For me, not only does the event have a vast array of beautiful new and unique products on offer, there are also dozens of informative displays and exciting demonstrations to be seen throughout the day, on whichever day you attend. Not only is the event the perfect shopping opportunity, it is also the ideal place for a social catch up. I can guarantee you that you will know at least 10 people who will be attending over the course of the weekend. So, why not use it as the perfect excuse to sit down in front of the glorious sundog displays and catch up over a glass (or jug!) of PIMM's.
One of my favourite things about events such as this, is that there is so much to discover, right at the end of your fingertips. I couldn't begin to tell you the amount of new brands I discovered at past events, many whole have since become customers and even friends. With so much opposition to fieldsports in recent years, I believe it is hugely important for us as a community, to be able to come together and celebrate everything that is good and everything we love about life in the country. In all walks of life, there will always be those that let the side down or those that want to put a stop to something but here, at The Game Fair we all want the same thing. To see both our community and our industry thrive.
It doesn't take long once you're through the gates at The Game Fair (BASC offers complimentary entry to it's members) to see that the team here have worked tirelessly to create a unique environment designed to bring us all together, regardless of age, experience or gender. I caught up with James Gower to find out a little bit more about this iconic countryside event.
James Gower has been Managing Director of The Game Fair for 4 years now, and knows exactly what is required to put on an unforgettable weekend of countryside entertainment. Firstly, I asked James to sum up The Game Fair in three words. His response: "Your Game Fair."
A response which I think sums up exactly what I have said prior to this and one which leads us nicely on to our questions;
Where and when was the first ever Game Fair?
"The very first Game Fair took place at Stetchworth near Newmarket at the end of July in 1958. It far surpassed expectations even then and attracted a crowd of more than 8,000 visitors. Things have certainly come a long way in 61 years, two years ago we welcomed just under 120,000 visitors through the gates."
As one of the most poignant dates on the country social calendar, what sets it apart from the rest?
"It has to be quality and scale. We play host to International competitions and events that are not seen at any smaller, regional game fairs or country shows."
The Telegraph described the event as 'Glastonbury for the Green Welly Brigade.' With that said, what is your favourite aspect of the event?
"The Game Fair essentially belongs to the visitors and the exhibitors who bring it to life. As custodians of the event we want to ensure that it is around in another 60 years time for people to continue to enjoy. I love seeing the smiles on the faces of the visitors and the sense of community that exists."
As the world's largest countryside show, boasting the most comprehensive outdoor shooting exhibition which attracts shooters of all kinds, male, female, young, old, novice, experienced and everything in between, do you think that events such as this contribute to securing the future of the sport in this country?
"Absolutely. They are so important to the feature of fieldsports as a whole. That is why it is so crucial to support these events. We put a large emphasis on education and work wit organisations including CPSA, BASC and NGO."
You offer complimentary entry to all BASC members, what was the reason behind this decision?
"BASC have a membership of around 150,000. These are all people who have an interest and love for the
countryside. Our exhibitors need the right people at the event to buy their products and our partnership with BASC ensures that the right visitors are there with money to spend."
Tell us something we wouldn't ordinarily know about The Game Fair?
"Roughly 140 tonnes of rubbish is collected during and after The Game Fair. Currently, over 85% of this is recycled."
Will you be attending this year's event? Keep your eye out for more Game Fair related content on our blog and across our social channels over the new few weeks. *Photography supplied by the team at The Game Fair for press use.
Until next time...
Lots of love,