“JUNE”, as the old song from the musical Carousel says, "is bustin’ out all over" - well it will do shortly, and that means we are heading for one of the most important dates in the Midlands agricultural calendar - the annual Royal Three Counties Show.

And this year’s show will be quite special as, for the first time ever, it is welcoming all under-16s free of charge in a bid to encourage the younger generation to embrace agriculture.

The show will also be holding a ‘Schools go free Friday’ on its opening day, June 14, when it expects to be welcoming over 3,500 children who will take part in curriculum-related agricultural activities.

TV presenter and Official Show Ambassador, Adam Henson, said: “I’m delighted that children under 16 now have this opportunity for free entry and that I’ll be able to share my knowledge and passion for farming and agriculture to inspire the next generation.”

He says visiting the show as a young boy was his inspiration for a career in farming, and likewise Head of Shows, Diana Walton, said: “Visiting the show as a child was an annual highlight and I’m delighted we are able to welcome all under 16s free of charge allowing all children to enjoy a great day out while learning more about our region's heritage. Education is at the very heart of the society.”

Lindsey Craddock, County Director of Worcestershire Council, said: “This means that many children can come to the show that maybe couldn’t in the past. Hopefully they’ll have an enjoyable day, learn something new and see all the great things that the show has to offer.”

This year’s three-day show runs from Friday, June 14 through to Sunday, June 16.

Moving on from its landmark celebration of the show’s 60th anniversary last year the organisers once again hope to see more than 90,000 visitors across the weekend, for a glimpse of a show that is the Heart of England’s premiere celebration of rural life and the countryside.

The show celebrates the best of agriculture in Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire and it’s the latter taking the reins as the host county this year when the Herefordshire Hub will be at the heart of the event.

There are some exciting developments in the show’s theatres this year which will see TV presenter Sybil Ruscoe host three panels on the theme of Food Production: Meeting the Demands of Today and Tomorrow in the Wellington Boot Theatre on the Friday, giving an insight into the challenges faced by farmers from policy changes to agri-tech to sustainability.

The Three Counties Showground will also welcome the President of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) and TV presenter, Jimmy Doherty, who will be hosting talks throughout the show, including inside the ‘Ask the Farmer’ theatre, an area where visitors are encouraged to discover all you need to know about farm animals and ask those burning questions!

Local Scout and Guide groups will also be welcomed back over the weekend of the show to earn their Royal Three Counties Show badge. Each child must complete a variety of different tasks that are based in different areas around the site to achieve their badge.

Some new stops on the itinerary include ‘Meet the Groom’ so that visitors can brush up on their equine knowledge, walking the grain chain with LEAF Education and powering up with Western Power Distribution.

Three Counties also plans to continue its enterprise initiative which will see four schools host a stand to sell their wares at the show. Each school will be selling a variety of goods.

Diana Walton added: “Our main charitable aim as an organisation is to educate and we’ve really put an emphasis on that over the past few years.

“Education will play a huge part in the future of farming, from up-skilling the current workforce to educating the next generation of farmers – which is exactly what we’re hoping to do at Royal Three Counties Show.

“There will be plenty of opportunities to have a go at different activities, from learning crafts with the Woodvilles Medieval Camp to walking the food processing chain with the Royal Agricultural University - the possibilities are truly endless!”

Some of the country’s finest livestock, including many from the Bromsgrove, Droitwich, Redditch and Alcester areas, will compete for the title of best in show with thousands of show entries expected from as far afield as the West Country and the Scottish Borders, while family entertainment highlights will include dog agility, duck herding and an amazing display of free-fall by a team from the Red Devils Parachute Regiment. And of course there will be the usual plethora of tradestands.

New for 2019, sees the introduction of a People’s Choice competition, to be held on the Saturday, for pigs that have not won a prize in the breed classes.

Tickets for this year’s show, which is being held in association with JCB Paint, are on sale with advanced tickets from £21 for adults. For information on ticket prices and further information on the show, please visit www.royalthreecounties.co.uk or call 0844 811 0050.