On the hottest weekend of the year, The CLA Game Fair, held at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire on 25 to 27 July, proved a massive success as organisers reported a record attendance that boasted royalty and politicians as well as numerous celebrities and public figures. The attendance figure of 151,000 smashed all records. Saturday was the busiest day with crowds increasing by 8,000 or so on Friday’s numbers.

A delighted CLA fair organiser, Fiona Eastman, told Shooting Times: “I’m sure a lot of this success was to do with the unfortunate cancellation of last year’s Game Fair, but Blenheim is also a truly popular location and of course the weather was simply fantastic for all three days. Throughout the whole event everyone was just so happy to be at the fair. Exhibitors in all areas did very buoyant business.”

Special guests at the fair included HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, DEFRA’s Lord Rooker and the leader of the Opposition, David Cameron all of whom were given tours of the showground and shown the huge variety of work conducted by the numerous organisations attending.

With more than a thousand tradestands, retailers reported strong sales with several running out of stock. George Juer, of William Evans Gunmakers, reported that despite the uncertain economic climate they enjoyed unprecedented sales: “The Game Fair is predominantly a PR exercise for us, but we sold thousands of pounds worth of guns, including a rare Webley & Scott 28-bore shotgun. We sold more clothing and accessories at this Game Fair than ever before.”

ST Editor Camilla Clark said that it was one of the best Game Fairs in a good few years: “The aisles were heaving with visitors from the off and people just kept on coming. From my point of view it was a superb opportunity to get some feedback from ST readers, discuss article ideas with contributors, speak to the gun trade and catch up with the various shooting organisations. Once I’d done all that, I just had time for a quick look around to see if I could find a bargain or two before heading home for a much needed rest!”

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