Once a small local event held at Stourpaine Bushes near Pimperne that I used to go to as a little boy, the Great Dorset Steam Fair 2018 is now in its 50th year and is the largest show of its kind in the World.
Located on a 600 acre site at Tarrant Hinton amidst the countryside of the Cranborne Chase, it has an extraordinary number of working traction engines, steam powered machines, heritage vehicles and equipment as well as a vast fun fair.
It is rather like a country fair gone mad with hundreds of stalls, umpteen beer & cider outlets, a First World War trench system, hundreds of working displays and a music festival that goes on late into the night. Attracting some 200,000 visitors over five days it even has its own radio station. At times there can be as many as 30,000 on site making it the fifth largest population centre in the county.
The queues to the showground can be quite lengthy despite a well organised parking system but the wait is worthwhile to witness living history and attend a unique event. There is so much to see and do that many people camp for all five days.
The Steam Fair runs from Thursday 23rd August until Bank Holiday Monday, 27th August.