Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cunningsburgh Agricultural Show

A few years ago a friend twisted my arm into volunteering to manage the sheep barn at the Whidbey Island Fair.  The previous 'superintendent' of the barn decided that after 30 years she deserved some time off. So I stepped into a 'job' that included hiring the sheep breed and fleece show judge, putting together educational displays and even doing some barn maintenance.

Franna Pitt exhibiting her Champion Shetland Yearling Ewe at the 2012 Whidbey Island Fair ( See The Sheep Barn Blog)
 Our county fair is stretched out over 4 days with another day prior to the fair set aside for the local veterinarian to examine all of the sheep that will be exhibited at the fair for good health.  When the fair is done, we all go home happy, but exhausted.

Elizabeth Johnston in Shetland recently sent me several photos that a friend of hers took at the local agricultural fair in Cunningsburgh.

Shetland ewe

The Cunningsburgh show is an agricultural show on Shetland that is held annually on the second Wednesday in August. The first show was thought to have taken place in 1935.  However, unlike our local county fair, it is held entirely outside in a field for just one day.  It seems that this is not atypical in the UK.  We attended a fair a few years ago in Masham in the Yorkshire Dales that set up temporary pens for the sheep right in the town square.

Judging cattle
Here too for the Cunningsburgh show, temporary pens and rings are set up for the day. The show accepts entries from anywhere in Shetland, unlike some of the other Shetland Shows which only serve a specific area.  Like our fairs they include exhibits in both animals, hobbies and food items.

Shetland collie
What I love about these photos is the opportunity to see the Shetland sheep that are being exhibited at this local agricultural show.

Shetland ewe

Shetland ram

Shetland 'black' sheep

Shetland sheep with interesting facial markings

Shetland ram lamb

Not a bad way to run an agricultural fair, although is looks a bit cooler than our fair (that by the way was held the same time in August)!

Shetland ponies


  1. Hi Wendy
    .. thanks for sharing those photos ... some of the best Shetland sheep I've seen. Note the nice wool on the head of the Moorit Ram Shetland Black (it will look a very dark brown in good light) ewe and lamb and the white ram lamb. The Moorit ram has great horns. The old white ewe is more likely to have a cross lamb at foot as it is nearly as big as she is.

    One day shows are the norm around here (Lanrkshire) and the only longer show we do is the Royal Highland Show .. bot in the Highlands but at Edinburgh airport... yes literally .. the exhibitors car park is on the airport perimeter fence.... Shetland breeders from the SW of England come up on a day trip by plane from Bristol and walk from the airport terminal into the show.

    Robin .. Galtress Shetlands
    ( see us at www.scottishwool.com)

    1. I always love to see the photos you post on your website from the shows you attend! I think I'll have to add the Royal Highland Show to my 'bucket list'.


  2. Well spotted, Robin. Note the set of the ears, another give away that it is a cross lamb.


  3. Thanks for sharing, Wendy! I always appreciate photos and perspective from the Islands.

    Hey Robin, would you be interested in attending the 2013 NASSA Annual General Meeting next June? It's at the Estes Park Wool Market in Colorado. Would love to have your input.

    I bought a handsome Shetland Black ram from Marybeth Bullington, and I just sorted off my top 25 ewes for him last night. Mostly old Dailley ewes, but also several Shirehill Minder daughters and grand-daughters. The rest of the flock will be bred to Texel or BFL for market lambs.

    Elizabeth, we need workshop teachers for the AGM as well. Would you be interested in teaching something along the lines of Shetland textiles? I've been following Wendy's blog for a while, and am in reverence to your work.

    I'm not sure what the budget is for hiring judges and teachers, but will find out soon.

    1. Thanks, Jared. I think I will be in Norway in June 2013, so not possible to be in the US with you. My next trip to the US will probably be in 2014. I will start planning that early in 1013, so if you have dates for 2014 by then let me know.