In this piece, the organisers of the Haddington Show, explain what's on offer at this year's event on Saturday

FARMING and agriculture has been intrinsic to the Scottish way of life since the first settlers cultivated the fertile lands, providing food for communities and, later, produce to trade with.

Celebrating the traditions of working the land has become embedded into Scotland’s rich heritage – and agricultural shows still reflect that historic link between farming and the community.

The annual Haddington Agricultural Show is one of Scotland’s oldest events, dating from 1804. It’s a testament to the continued interest in local heritage and tradition that it is as relevant in 2019 as it was two centuries ago.

Now in its 215th year, the annual Haddington Show will open its gates on Saturday to the crowds and showcase the finest producers, breeders and vendors from East Lothian.

The show is a significant event within the area, with traditional displays of animals, produce and crafts but also offering entertainment and attractions that appeal to contemporary audiences.

Of course there is always the ‘Best in Breed’ awards, where competition is fierce but friendly between cattle and sheep breeders, and judging is a serious affair.

There are about 50 horse classes, from veteran riders to the horse and rider fancy dress. The number of entrants reflect the unmistakable popularity of equestrian pursuits within East Lothian.

And for those who prefer more craft-based endeavours, there are numerous prizes for the craft schedules, including floristry, baking, stick dressing, photography and jam-making. It’s certainly an inclusive event.

There’s even a hugely popular vintage farm machinery section, a huge draw for farming and non-farming visitors alike and which makes an impressive vista across the showground.

But if you think it’s all about prize turnips and tractors, you’d be wrong. Such is the reputation of the Haddington Show it attracts some prestigious performers.

One of the most sought-after tickets is for the remarkable pop-up opera shows: a touring version of Scottish Opera who perform in a mobile lorry, complete with seating and stage. They’ll be singing highlights from three operas during the show and tickets are on a first-come first-served basis on the day.

Other notable entertainment is from the Broke FMX stunt motorbike team. They’ll be performing acrobatic stunts that will have the audience holding their breath as the UK’s top ranked freestyle motocross riders reach heights of 35 feet and jump gaps of almost 100 feet.

For something a little less heart-stopping but no less thrilling, don’t miss The Drakes of Hazard. Marvel at the skill of Mark Wylie with his sheepdog and Indian runner duck display team as they navigate around obstacles, working in harmony – a ‘must see’ for the kids.

And no Scottish agricultural show would be complete without a pipe band.

The Haddington Show is pleased to welcome East Lothian’s own Haddington Pipe Band, a befitting soundtrack to this traditional event.

As if all that entertainment isn’t enough, visitors can also sample and buy a range of locally produced goods in the East Lothian Producers Marquee. The very best produce from our area includes locally made oils, dairy goods, bread, spices and, of course, whisky!

Another area not to be missed is the equally local Craft and Lifestyle Marquee, where you can buy items made in East Lothian. Again, the choice is varied, definitely a ‘something for everyone’ scenario and some unusual offerings like hand-knitted kids’ clothing, candles, accessories made

from feathers, tweed items and furniture – and that’s just the edit! Allow plenty of time between the performances to browse the local marquees.

The Haddington Show is a fabulous and educational day out for all ages but it doesn’t happen without the continued support of sponsors and traders, who also exhibit at the show.

The two main sponsors for 2019 are Greaves, West & Ayre, who have been generous sponsors since 2012, and Lothian Broadband, who this year are also supporting the show, and both businesses will be in the sponsors’ marquee by the main ring, along with many other local companies; visitors are encouraged to meet the traders.

No less recognition should be given to the committee who make the show possible. Throughout the year, they work tirelessly, and largely voluntary, to make the show a success. Co-ordinating the events, booking the entertainment and physically preparing the ground for the big day takes a huge effort. It’s all worthwhile to uphold the important heritage of East Lothian and its agricultural traditions.

Some visitor information: the show ground will be serviced by a free shuttle bus from Dunbar and Haddington (timetables are on the website) and there’s plenty of parking.

Gates open at 9am until 6pm on Saturday. Card payments can be taken. Ticket prices, show times and details can be found at

Follow the show on Facebook and Twitter @haddingtonshow for the latest updates.

The timetable for the main ring is as follows:

  • 9am – Horse Classes
  • 11.30am – Pipe Band
  • 11.50pm – Drakes of Hazard
  • 12.30pm – Vintage Tractors
  • 1.15pm – Broke FMX
  • 1.55pm – Pedigree Cattle Parade & Championship Judging
  • 2.25pm – Pipe Band
  • 2.30pm – Dog Show
  • 2.45pm – Drakes of Hazard
  • 3.25pm – Light Horse Championship
  • 3.50pm – Champion of Champions
  • 4.10pm – Broke FMX
  • 4.50pm – Sheaf Tossing
  • 6pm – Show Closes