Bedfordshire Steam & Country Fayre 2008

Rally report and pictures by Mark Worbey

Although the weather outlook for the weekend was poor, and heavy rain 'welcomed' the many exhibits arriving during Friday, people's spirits remained high for this was the Society's 50th Annual Rally. The committee would like to thank everyone for their patience, and to all those that helped marshalling exhibits in.

Saturday morning saw a break in the bad weather and most exhibits managed to get on site. Engines came from all over the country, including our biggest-ever grouping from Scotland, with five engines on show. There was a good range of new exhibits in the steam section, our largest number Road Locomotive entries ever. There was a good amount of engines working around the site, notably the steam threshing organised by Michael Watts and tractor display organised by Peter Wheeler, Geoff Scott and Neil Tingey. Colin Brothwell's and Dave Knott's sawbenches were working hard. We had Fowler Z7 ploughing engines back in action for the first time since the rally was at Roxton Park, which made an impressive sight, with the horses working nearby. It was good to see so many people around the showman's engine line up in the fair on Saturday evening, after the ever-popular informal road runs to Broom and Northill, both of which had record numbers of exhibits attending.

A good selection of tractors, cars and motorcycles were on display, along with commercial vehicles and miniature steam. Some new exhibits in these sections created plenty of interest and we were lucky enough to have many of these moving around the site, given the amount of rainfall on Friday.

Two large displays were organised by the Shuttleworth Collection and the Maskell Collection, covering steam, tractors, commercials and associated equipment.

Although there was no special theme for 2008, there was a display of Society Members ongoing projects in front of the mansion, with everything from steam to a fairground ride, a living van to a drag saw.

Eventhough the poor weather and the 'credit crunch' affected visitor attendance, the event was one of the most successful of the 50 that have been organised.