IT’s full steam ahead for the 26th annual Essex Country Show, with 35,000 people set to visit Barleylands this weekend.

The celebration of farming history and rural crafts will make a welcome return to the Billericay attraction over Saturday and Sunday.

Organisers of the event, which will be spread over 197 acres, are ensuring families can enjoy a bumper crop of fun, with everything from “vintage combine harvesters” to blacksmith, farrier and clog-making demonstrations.

Visitors wanting a bit more action can also watch “monster trucks” in the main arena, as well as steam engine and vintage car exhibitions. There will also be a funfair.

Shaun Young, who has spent a year organising the event for Barleylands, said: “It’s not all about watching, there will be opportunities to drive a steam engine, plus helicopter rides so you can view the show and Essex countryside from the air.

“Animal lovers will appreciate the chance to watch sheep-shearing and find out more about farming life and the care of farm animals.

“Every year we try to offer something exciting and this year’s no exception.

“It sees the return of the Monster Truck team, plus a display by the Imperial Birds of Prey Academy, which will see some superb birds flying high above the showground.

“The show is now in this 26th year and has gone from strength to strength, yet it’s retained a tradition to award £6,000 to six local charities each year.”

Crowds can enjoy the sounds of the Royal British Legion Marching Band and Corps of Drums, as they wander around. The show will also be featuring lurcher racing, for the first time ever, this year.

Shoppers will be well catered for, with 200 trade stands and three marquees full of craftsmen and women showing off their skills.

Entry prices are £12 for adults, £5 for children and £8 for senior citizens.

A family ticket, for two adults and two children, costs £29.

For information call 01268 290228, or visit