Death-defying and jaw-dropping feats of skill and courage performed on horses at full gallop by legendary Cossack Warriors will be seen for the first time at this year’s Chatsworth Country Fair.
The three-day celebration of the countryside set in the beautiful Chatsworth parkland is offering a feast of family entertainment, from the whirlwind that is Dzhigitovka! - The Way of the Cossack Warrior, to what is set to be one of the very last displays by the army’s world famous motorcycle display team The White Helmets (before they are disbanded at the end of the summer).
Today, the equestrian art of dzhigitovka, which sees the rider leaping from his horse at full gallop or sliding under its belly, is practised as a sport by the distant descendants of the Cossack Warriors. But, three centuries, ago it was a military technique that allowed the riders to dodge bullets and arrows and attack the enemy where least expected. In traditional costume, the Cossacks will be a highlight of the Grand Ring programme, which runs from 10.45am to approximately 6.30pm each day.
Founded in 1927, The British Army’s White Helmets, made up of volunteers from the Royal Signals, owe their heritage to the daring dispatch riders of the First World War who, with skills honed on the battlefront, began to perform tricks by pitching their motorcycles against horses at their base in Yorkshire.
Now, after 90 years, the display team is being disbanded to make way for a more modern presentation of the Royal Signals in a digital age. With Chatsworth set to be one of the very last chances to see these highly skilled riders perform their crowd-pleasing routine of tricks, it should be an occasion to remember.
Event organiser Sarah Green said: “We’re delighted to have secured one of the best line-ups I can remember and I can’t wait to see the displays from the new acts as well as old friends. As our regular visitors will know, away from the thrills and spills of the Grand Ring, there is a wealth of things to see, do and try - and eat! We look forward to welcoming everyone for what promises to be a memorable three days.”
The iconic Second World War planes of the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flypast will return to the skies of Derbyshire while Jump4Heroes, the British Legion’s Extreme Human Flight Team, will be dropping into the arena trailing smoke and flying flags.
Weather permitting, visitors will also get to see the majestic sight of one of the country’s largest hot air balloon lifts setting off each day in the early morning and at dusk across the river Derwent and parkland.
In this celebration of the countryside, animals naturally take a starring role, whether it’s the adorable ponies taking part in the high-speed Mounted Games, the terrier race and hounds parade, CJ with her birds of prey or the popular Dog and Duck Show.
There is loads on offer for children too, from joining the Band of The Royal Logistics Corps for the traditional Children’s March Past; taking part in ‘Scufts’, the family fun dog show to all manner of active fun from zorbing and climbing to bouncing and balancing.
For the younger visitors there are Banana Brain fun shows, pony rides, bouncy castle, vintage fairground, exotic animal encounters, climbing wall and spider mountain and low ropes
It’s not just kids that can get stuck in though. There’s loads for visitors of all ages to try from laser and clay pigeon shooting and archery to fly fishing tuition, as well asfly casting, laser sporting shoot and target golf.
Always a crowd favourite is the chance to experience first-hand some of the nation’s favourite chefs whipping up delicious culinary delights. This year, there is a mouthwatering line-up of talent led by Paul Hollywood on Friday, Mary Berry CBE on Saturday and John Torode and Lisa Faulkner on Sunday along with some fantastic local chefs showcasing their talents all set in the foodie haven of the Fine Food Village.
On the gate prices for adults are £25 per day, with children aged 14 and under getting in free.
Gates open at 9am each day, with a closing ceremony at 6.30pm. For more information on the event and to book a ticket, visit www.chatsworth.org/events