With more than 120,000 people expected to visit the 59th Game Fair on 28-30 July 2017, we've rounded up the highlights so you don't miss a thing
As the largest outdoor countryside-themed event in the world, the Game Fair 2017 is set to attract around 120,000 visitors and 1,000 exhibitors to its brand new venue – Hatfield House in Hertfordshire from Friday 28 to Sunday 30 July 2017.
Reaching the new venue could not be simpler, a 20-minute train journey from King’s Cross will take visitors to Hatfield station which is just five minutes’ walk from the event. Plus extra train carriages are being laid on especially.
We’ve rounded up the highlights of this year’s event for you:
High Pheasant, Grouse Butt, Pigeon Stand
If you’re looking for a challenge that is a little out of the ordinary, you need to try these three game shooting competitions. The three courses will give the clay shooter a chance to pit themselves against three of the best Shots of our generation. Simon Ward will be setting the score for the High Pheasant, Lord James Percy will do the same for the Grouse Butt and, for the new innovation for 2017, the Pigeon Stand, you’ll have to be able to keep up with none other than legendary clay and pigeon Shot, George Digweed. The challenge is simple – once the three scores have been set by Simon, Lord James and George on Friday morning, it’s up to you to match or beat them in order to have a chance of becoming High Gun. There will be great prizes up for grabs each day and there will be an overall High Gun prize for the best score across all three stands over the course of the weekend.
Champion of Champions
Held on Saturday 29 July, the Champion of Champions is a must for spectating, if you haven’t qualified. This competition, run by the CPSA, sees the top shooters from each county pitted against each other, with qualifying rounds building the tension throughout the day. Only the top 10 return for a semi-final, which is followed by a thrilling final round for the top five shooters. A great chance to watch some of the country’s finest Shots.
Another CPSA-run competition, for which shooters need to have qualified. The top 10 English Sporting shooters aged 16 or under in the country battle it out on Sunday 30 July. A great opportunity to see some of the most exciting young Shots coming up in the sport, and an inspiring experience for other young clayshooters.
The Kitchen Theatre
This year, the Cookery Theatre has been overhauled to include stories from the food producers themselves. So, if chef José Souto is giving a talk about venison, expect the deerstalker that harvested the meat to also be on stage explaining the story of the hunt. There’ll also be a Chef’s Table and bar for full enjoyment.
The Carter Jonas Game Fair Theatre, in association with The Times
This year’s schedule is packed with speakers you might not have seen before, such as Daryll Pleasants, who specialises in training dogs to help with anti-poaching efforts in Africa, or Geoff Dann, the UK’s leading expert on fungi. There will still be some meaty political debate, but there’ll also be a smattering of lighthearted talks and book signings from writers such as Christopher Somerville, author of Britain’s Best Walks.
In response to visitor and exhibitor feedback, organisers have revealed radical plans for this year’s Fishing Village. For the first time in the event’s 59 years, the dedicated Fishing Village will be located in the middle of the site opposite Gunmakers’ Row, to ensure as many people as possible visit the new-look attraction. There will be two casting pools, one for expert demonstrations with key names such as Charles Jardine, Hywel Morgan and Scott Mackenzie; with the other pool for visitors wanting to try-rods-before-they-buy. Plus there will be a separate river area for have-a-go and tuition, demonstrations and casting competitions.
The Subaru Shooting Line
Run by E.J. Churchill, The Game Fair’s shooting line is Europe’s longest, at nearly 600m long. Top attractions include Rabbit Challenge Pool Shoot, 25 Sportrap, 50 English Sporting Course, Champion of Champions and Colts Challenge.
This year, the Fair has partnered with Air Arms to deliver its Air Arms Experience, which will be a focal point of the event. It allows visitors to try their hand at five of the UK’s top target shooting disciplines, supported by British Shooting, UK Benchrest, UKAHFT (Hunter Field Target) and the BFTA (British Field Target Association).
As if that wasn’t enough, the East Sussex-based manufacturer will also be offering visitors the chance to enter the hotly contested Speed Shoot competition. Those taking part could win cash prizes and will be entered into a free prize draw to win a brand new S410 Super-lite plus kit, worth more than £800.
The Gregg Wallace Shot to Pot Restaurant
A huge success last year, the 400-cover restaurant, and 400-cover hospitality area will once again satisfy the growing demand for “farm to fork” food provenance. The rustic menu features a number of game dishes, plus Gregg will be mingling with diners on the Saturday and Sunday of the show.
The Seven Investment Management Village Green area in association with Country Life
As a space to relax away from the crowds, the Seven Investment Management Village Green will feature cricket matches, large TV screens, Tiptree gin bar, cream teas, deck chairs and picnics. It’s also home to official charity partner – The Lord’s Taverners.
The Home International Team Gundog Competition
If you want to see the top gundogs from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales go head-to-head in a purpose-built arena complete with authentic cover crop, jumps and water, then make sure you catch the Home International Team competition. This hotly contested competition always produces intense rivalry between the top dog handlers from each country.
Scruffts’ Family Crossbreed Dog of the Year
Is your handsome crossbreed dog always turning heads? The Game Fair is hosting a regional heat of Scruffts’ Family Crossbreed Dog of the Year on Sunday 30 July. Scruffts is a national crossbreed competition, with more than 1,400 dogs entering last year. Entry costs £2 per dog per class and all entry money will be split between the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and the official charity for 2017 – The Lord’s Taverners.
For three days every year, the Game Fair becomes the seventh largest retail area anywhere in the UK – with more around 1,000 stands – all the key country brands will be in residence.
Upgrade your ticket
The Game Fair’s Gold Package costs £69 for adults and £30 for children aged between 8 and 16-years old. This includes entrance to The Game Fair, access to the Enclosure and private lounge. A full English breakfast, glass of buck’s fizz on arrival, mid-morning tea and coffee, Tiptree fruit gin tasting, an official show guide, private cloakroom and access to ‘Shop and Drop.’
The Game Fair’s Platinum Package costs £125 for adults and £60 for children aged between 8 and 16-years old. This includes entrance to The Game Fair, access to the Enclosure, Shoot Lodge and Bar, plus VIP access to ‘Shot to Pot’ Restaurant. A full English breakfast, glass of buck’s fizz on arrival, three-course lunch, Tiptree cream tea, an official show guide, private cloakroom and access to ‘Shop and Drop.’
Advance adult tickets cost £22.50. Child tickets cost £8.00. Accompanied children aged 8 and under are free. Members of the Country Land & Business Association, National Gamekeepers’ Organisation, National Farmers Union, National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, Countryside Alliance or Kennel Club are entitled to a promotional rate and all members of the British Association of Shooting & Conservation are entitled to complimentary entry for all three days.
Sporting Gun readers can take advantage of a promotional readers offer. This will entitle readers to get ONE single adult ticket for £20 (valid any one day).
All you need to do to redeem it is add the code SHOOTINGUK in to the promo code box when you book tickets online, or quote the code over the phone.
For tickets visit The Game Fair or tel 0844 776 7777.
Sporting Gun, Shooting Times, Shooting Gazette and The Field will be at stand F880 at The Game Fair, so visit us.