DORSET County Show is a record-breaker even before the crowds come flocking to the Dorchester showground next month.

Show secretary Sam Mackenzie-Green said the homecraft classes had drawn a massive 1,800 entries - well up on last year.

She said: "These classes have been growing for several years and this entry is a record. The theme is Food and Farming and we're expecting to see 23 scarecrows entered this time.

"That'll be good."

The show, on September 6 and 7, has also attracted more trade stands than ever before with space being allocated to accommodate 450 stands.

Mrs Mackenzie-Green said: "That's another record. Last year we had 390.

"I'm really pleased that around 50 are agricultural traders such as tractor companies. This is an agricultural show and people will be pleased to see them."

This year the show features the return of the animal classes, which had to be cancelled last year because of the bluetongue crisis.

Among the livestock heading for Dorchester will be sheep from north Yorkshire.

Mrs Mackenzie-Green said numbers of entries were high at 90 per cent of the numbers before the bluetongue outbreak.

She said: "At the beginning of the season people were really struggling because of bluetongue but owners have vaccinated their animals and can move them in a big zone.

"Clearly they've decided to come out for the show and people will be delighted to see them back."

Horse classes are also proving popular with entries as high as last year's record number.

This year's show includes classes for spotted ponies - a first in the show's history - and numbers are well up for the racehorse classes that were introduced last year.

Mrs Mackenzie-Green said advance tickets are selling strongly and should be boosted by the ticket booth in South Street, Dorchester.

Last year's show drew 55,000 people over the two days.

Highlights at the show include main ring action from the Royal Artillery motorbike display team, the Flying Gunners, falconry displays, a festival of hounds and an attempt to set the world record town cry led by Dorchester Town Crier Alistair Chisholm.

Terrier racing, a grand parade of champions, carriage driving and cookery demonstrations are among the attractions packed in to both days.

Tickets are on sale in advance from outlets including Tourist Information centres, the Dorset Echo offices and Nicoll World Travel in Dorchester as well as online from the show's website.