Bumper ticket sales help secure return of New Forest Show in 2023
THE New Forest Show is all set for a return in 2023 after this year's "make or break" edition was boosted by top weather, more activities and excellent gate numbers.
Describing the event at New Park, Brockenhurst, as a £1.5m gamble, show society chair Martin Stewart revealed months of hard work paid off with ticket sales across the three days much better than projected.
He acknowledged that improvements to Wifi and the members enclosure would be top priorities for next year, and revealed the run-up to last week's show had involved problems with caterers, contractor staffing issues and fears of a forest fire.
Mr Stewart said: “When we officially decided to push the button and go ahead with the show in April, we still had a huge number of hurdles to overcome.
"Some of our previous contractors had stopped trading during the pandemic and others were having huge labour issues.
“We decided we had to go ahead if the show was ever going to return – and we are the first to say that there were elements that were not perfect.
"But the support from the public and feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly positive.”
He added: “Be in no doubt that this was a make or break show for us – and there were some things we had to change for various reasons.
“We will be having thousands of very sincere conversations over the next few months to plan how we can make things even better and more polished for 2023.”
New this year were free-to-book, 45-minute Little Rangers sessions in the Forestry England area of the showground where children were able to join craft sessions and learn more about bugs and butterflies.
The hugely popular kids' cookery baking sessions also returned to the Bake and Cake tent.
Meanwhile, have-a-go sessions run by local clubs gave youngsters the chance to try yoga, cricket, football, fly fishing and other activities.
Mr Stewart said: “People loved the activities and have-a-go sessions this year and we would definitely like to build on that to offer even more in the future.
“We also found because there were less trade stands we had more space to put out picnic benches – which received great feedback.”
A heavy horse village also gave visitors the chance to get up close to the gentle giants of the equestrian world.
Local charities were also offered a chance to promote their work in a communities section, including Milford-based youth charity Olivia Inspires.
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