IT WAS a case of hold on to your hats and find a spot of cover on the opening day of this year’s New Forest Show.

While there were high winds and heavy showers, large crowds still turned out in their droves for the popular event, with queues waiting at entrances at the start of the day.

Traders and exhibitors were on hand as thousands attended the established showcase at New Park, Brockenhurst.

A Met Office weather warning for thunderstorms remained in place today but there was no stopping the annual spectacle from providing its usual array of animal activities, displays and stalls.

The inclement conditions drove more people to the tented areas of the show, where they could interact with a range of livestock and produce, watch a spot of duck racing or find out more about working life in the New Forest.

The day proved to be a stark contrast to last year’s curtain raiser, when the mercury rose to 27 degrees and extra measures were taken to ensure animals remained hydrated and cool.

The event is now in its 99th year. It was formed by the New Forest Agricultural Show Society, who organise the New Forest Show, and first took place in 1921 over one day.

This year’s show continues tomorrow and Thursday. The weather is expected to improve for the rest of the event, with highs of 22 degrees and spells of sunshine on the middle day.