Celebration of rural life is set fair for return to Leeds

Tony Wall at Harewood House.
Tony Wall at Harewood House.
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The planning is done, the construction work is well under way – now all that is needed is a richly-deserved smile from Mother Nature.

Harewood House in Leeds is staging the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) Game Fair next Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 31 to August 2.

It will be the first time since 2003 that the historic estate has played host to the world’s largest outdoor countryside-themed show.

Harewood was due to welcome the annual event in 2007 but it was cancelled after torrential rain turned the site into a health and safety risk.

And, speaking at the estate yesterday, CLA Game Fair director Tony Wall said he was hopeful the elements would be much kinder this time around.

Mr Wall told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “My head of operations and my operations manager have both assured me that the weather is set fair.

“A few showers are forecast but that was also the case here [on Tuesday] and we didn’t get anything, so fingers crossed.”

Around 150,000 people and 1,000 exhibitors are expected to flock to the fair, which has toured parts of the UK including Oxfordshire and Leicestershire since it last visited Harewood.

Showcasing the best in sports, food, fashion and other aspects of country life, organisers estimate the event could generate more than £30m for the economy.

Such is the scale of next weekend’s proceedings, the CLA has had a team getting the sprawling site ready since the start of last month.

Mr Wall said he was delighted to be back at Harewood, where it definitely appears as though the fair’s absence has made its place in the area’s heart grow stronger.

“It does seem as though the people of Yorkshire are enthusiastic about our return,” he said.

“We have had some very encouraging calls and messages on social media and there is real excitement in the area, given that we have been away for a long period.”