The Cunningsburgh & Districts Agricultural Society SCIO’s main purpose is the advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science which is achieved by:
- Encouraging the development of agriculture, horticulture and local crafts in Shetland and in furtherance of these aims to hold an annual show.
- Providing recreational facilities at the Cunningsburgh Show ground, to enable activities such as events, competitions and community use.
- The promotion and improvement of agriculture and livestock breeding.
- Providing a community event bringing together all the communities of Shetland with common interest.
The Society was formed on the 21st March 1935. Its main purpose being to hold an annual agricultural show to encourage the introduction and breeding of good stock in the district and to induce competition to improve crops and home industries. Appeals were made to local businesses and dignitaries for funds/prizes and fundraisers, such as Box Socials, were held in the run up to the first Show. Tents and hurdles were sourced from the Dunrossness Agricultural Society for the first Show held on Wednesday 21st August at Tow, Cunningsburgh. The Show was and still is open to all exhibitors in Shetland.
The Society continued to improve the Show over the years by acquiring their own tents and equipment. Trophies were donated to the Show over the years (in the B/W photo with David Nicolson in 1968 there were 12 trophies for presentation. Today we have 123).
When the new Cunningsburgh hall was built in the Moors in the 1980’s the Cunningsburgh Show also moved to their present showground opposite the Hall in 1988. They purchased the land which enabled further improvements of 5 agricultural sheds and permanent structures. An annual show has been held every year apart from when coinciding with occasions/epidemics/pandemics such as 2nd World War, Queen Mothers Visit, Foot and Mouth disease, Tall Ships Race & COVID.
A schedule of entries is drawn up each year and presently has 550 classes to enter. The Show provides an important showcase for over 100 local businesses/charities and organisations to further their cause. The Show has had a buoyant committee of between 20 and 30 members over the decades. The present committee still endeavour to carry out the first Society’s main purpose whilst providing an inclusive enjoyable event for the whole community.