MORE than 20,000 people flocked to the Aldershot Army Show over the bank holiday weekend.
Meeting all expectations, the show was declared a success by the organisers who were determined it would continue despite nearly two-thirds of the garrison being in the Gulf.
The horse show ran across Saturday and Sunday, with the dog show and the Army Open Day taking place on Monday.
Families enjoyed balloon rides, a funfair and a variety of military displays.
Lt Col Jack Matthews, Adjutant to the Garrison, said: “We have had an excellent couple of days.
“The Army Show is very important for local relations — it is good for us to be in the public eye — and everyone seems to have enjoyed themselves here.
“This is something that Aldershot can claim for its own, and we will eventually build it into something that will rival the Guildford Show.”
One of the highlights for many local people was the Napoleonic battle re-enactment which took place on Monday, including an authentic campsite which visitors could walk around.
They watched in awe as the British redcoats and greencoats attacked the blue-coated French troops with their rifles, blasting them with rounds until the French fell and the crowd cheered.
Rob Anderson of the 88th Foot Regiment said: “The response we’ve had from the army has been fantastic. Everyone likes to come and watch the battles — we had an excellent day.”
The army recruitment team were also present to offer information to interested youngsters and many units — including those currently deployed to the Gulf — were represented by army personnel and vehicles.
Many charities benefited from the show, including the Army Benevolent Fund which had a stall at the show on Monday.
Stallholders Amanda Gill and David Davies were delighted with the support local people had shown to the fund.
Mrs Gill said: “We’ve had a pretty good day here and have sold a range of products to people, including quite a few T-shirts.
“We’ve taken around £100, which is great. Raising our profile at this type of show is really good for us.”
Mr Davies added: “I think this show is very important for local people — it is a major event that people can get involved in.”
There were two unfortunate accidents which threatened to dampen spirits.
A rider fell from her horse and a Red Devils parachutist broke her leg when she landed, but both are now recovering in hospital.