Counting the Value of Sheep Day

photo by Judy Probst

As part of our commitment to making Skipton a fabulous place to live, work and visit, we fund several crowd-pleasing family friendly festivals and events such as the Waterway Festival, the International Puppet Festival, the Christmas Markets and Sheep Day.

Sheep Day, now in its 23rd year, was hosted on Sunday July 1, and once again attracted thousands of people into Skipton town centre.

In a glorious celebration of Skipton’s ‘sheep town’ heritage, Sheep Day has at its core the famous ‘sheep show’ – a showcase of different sheep breeds, the art of sheep shearing and even sheep dancing! Plus with dozens of stalls, alpacas to stroke and sheep dogs marshalling ducks and geese, it is hardly surprising that this fun, quirky day out has been voted one of the top five events in the UK by customers of National Express.

Here’s what two Skipton businesses had to say about Sheep Day:

Maria Birkett, owner of Eshoes, High Street

Skipton events always encourage new people to visit the town. We see so many new faces coming into the shop, both local and many from much further afield. We also notice that initial visits to the town for events like Sheep Day often result in people returning at a later date for a proper look around the town.

Buying shoes is a very individual service, so we chat to people to find out if they’ve been before and where they’ve come from and what they think, which gives us a good idea about how many newcomers events like Sheep Day attracts − and it is a lot. Sheep Day seems to be quite famous. This year we met customers from as far away as Newcastle and Liverpool who had made the two-hour trip especially for the event.

We wish there was an event every week as it creates such a lovely atmosphere in town and always makes for a busy trading day. Sheep Day, which is one of our favourites, is like a really busy Saturday for us, we take at least double what we’d take on a normal Sunday and we have to bring in more staff. The food is always really great too!

We see a lot of high street and town centre shops don’t open for these Sunday events, but they really should consider it, as the town is genuinely busy with people buying.

Naomi Dodgson, manager of Oxfam, Swadford Street

Any event which closes the high street to traffic significantly increases the footfall into our shop, partly because people park at the Coach Street or Cavendish Street car parks and walk past, and partly because there are so many more people in the town. The net result is always a huge uplift in takings and the recent Sheep Day was no different, with our takings being treble what they would be for a normal Sunday.

For any event which is coming up we always make sure we prepare a window display to match, so for Sheep Day we used our wonderful tapestry made by one of our volunteers, which includes sheep, the canal and some bicycles. We also added some woolly cupholders with sheep on, decoupage style sheep coasters and some felted sheep keyrings, all volunteer made and all of which sold really well. This week we have a cookery themed display in the window to coincide with the Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Festival.


If you’re a BID business and would like to receive the footfall figures for Skipton town centre – email or call 01756 799033.