The event usually takes place over the last weekend in September but this year it had to be moved to the 5th/6th October to avoid any unfortunate clashes between sheep and cyclists. The programme remains the same every year, which is part of its charm. I sell programmes over the two days from a trailer in the centre of the square, and see many familiar faces, some of whom have been coming since the beginning. A couple of years ago an American women came to buy a programme and she proudly showed me her Masham Sheep Fair sweatshirt, with a design I didn't recognise. 25 years ago her friend bought it for her at the Sheep Fair and ever since then she'd been planning her own trip to see what all the fuss was about.
The action-packed programme includes sheep showing classes on both Saturday and Sunday, the famous Sheep Show when you'll have the chance to see just how different sheep breeds really are. You can place your bets on sheep racing (sheep chasing a farmer to reach his bucket of feed), wool crafts, fleece stalls, Bishop Blaize Procession, very creative flower displays in St. Mary's Church, sheepdog demonstrations, charity and other stalls, and Morris dancers and brass band.
Susan Cunliffe-Lister is the super-woman behind the event.The event is partly inspired by the times when Masham was famous for its sheep sales, when as many as 70,000 sheep were sold each year in the large market square. The original plan was to hold a one-off event to raise money for farmers in Africa - Sheep Aid. After the success of that initial event, it was decided to repeat it each year, raising money for local charities. Since then over £170,000 has been raised for local charities, particularly Yorkshire Air Ambulance. So please do come to see me in the trailer in the middle of the square to buy a programme - a bargain at £2 and every penny raised goes to do good in local communities.