As usual the show was a great success, even though this years event was shrouded with some controversy.
Before the show started the Lord Mayor of Saddleworth, Councillor Harold Battersby, unveiled a blue plaque at the home of former Uppermill resident Cyril Regis. Cyril, who died in 2009, aged 88, was a very prominent figure in the area, being the only person in Saddleworth to ever solve a Rubik cube, and the first man in the 80's to successfully set a program to record on a Video Cassette Recorder. It was also said, that he was so clever, he could complete a wordsearch puzzle in less than a day.
The show festivities got underway at around midday, with police and event stewards, carrying out the annual task of watching for less than honest traders, who tend to come each year with a view to conning tourists, usually American. As is usually the case, local resident Cyril Pattermore, 78 , was again warned about taking money from tourists, whom he charges £2 each to view what he claims is a dried up piccalilli spring at the end of his garden.
A man had goods seized in the main street by plain clothes Trading Standards officers who had been observing for a while before confronting him. A hand made sign on the front of his stall was advertising "Personal Miniature Jubilee Beacons" which were "Safe to use indoors" to celebrate Her Majesty's Jubilee. The sign went onto say that these" bonsai beacons" were hand crafted by "Young oriental artists". The man, as yet unnamed, was selling the "Beacons" for £8 a box. After removing the picture of the Queen stuck to the fronts, officers noticed the beacons were in fact boxes of Swan Vestas matches, costing around 30p in the shops.
A possible organised race fixing operation was thwarted, when judges intervened before the start of the Sheep Racing Derby. Suspicions were aroused when a "sizable" bet was placed on one of the runners just before the off. Judges found the sheep in question was actually a greyhound, which had been stitched into a sheepskin rug. After a short meeting, they disqualified it from taking part.
The dogs owner Brindley Sidebottom from Lydgate when asked to explain his actions, said "It were just a bit'o fun lad". The dog in the disguise was later identified as retired local greyhound Shitoffer Shuvvel, who had been sold to Sidebottom earlier that week, as a trainee sheep dog. The people behind the betting scam were never identified, as they failed to return to collect their stakes.
The main event of the afternoon was the Annual Midget Tossing competition, which saw last years champion sensationally disqualified after his first throw. Chuck Farley, who had been the champion tosser for the previous five years, was deemed to have cheated, by fielding an "underweight" midget, and thrown out of the competition.
One of the spectators Elsie Padgett, 55 , told us " I'd been watching for about fifteen minutes, and seen a fair few throws. Most people were chucking their midget about seven or eight feet, but when Farley had his throw, his midget sailed out to about the fifteen foot mark."
"I thought it was a bit odd when his midget hit the floor, then burst into tears and started crying for his mummy"
"That's when the judges came out to check on the wailing midget. I couldn't believe it when they stood the little fella up. It wasn't an adult midget at all, but a small child with a false beard and moustache stuck on his face".
When they managed to get his beard off, it was discovered that the "illegal" midget was in fact Farley's five year old grandson, Charlie. A short meeting of the judges found that he had tried to gain an advantage by using an underweight midget. He was thrown out of the competition, and could face a five year ban, when he appears before the National Tossers Society next month.
The ladies midget tossing event was won by Barbara Seville, from Friezland.
The event finished with a social evening at Uppermill Civic Hall, where dignitaries were entertained by an array of local talent and top UK artists. Among the talent on display was the Waterhead Spoon Orchestra, Top Comedian Bob "Ey Up" Robinson, and the Liverpool Giro Brass Band who played a rousing version of Knight Templar followed by that old favourite, Mephistopheles. The evening ended with a dazzling display by the Uppermill Over 80's Ballroom Dancing Team, Ginger Codgers.