Some 16,500 people flocked to the 2013 Autumn Show and Game Fair at the South of England Showground in Ardingly over the weekend.
The figure was up by nearly 1,000 people on last year and 2,000 from the year before, according to organisers the South of England Agricultural Society.
Country sports were in abundance across the showground throughout the sunny weekend including clay pigeon shooting, gundog training, ferreting, terrier racing, dog agility, fly fishing and falconry.
Michelle Nudds, vice chairman of the fair committee said: “There was such a buzz across the showground and it was wonderful to see so many people trying things that they perhaps have never thought of attempting before. The game cookery demonstrations gathered quite a crowd and confirmed just how versatile cooking with game can be.
“Shoppers seemed very keen to learn more about the health benefits of and why we should all be looking to eat more seasonal and local food and producers such as Balcombe Fine Game had a very busy two days.”
Lord Egremont from the Petworth Estate presented the annual Student Assignment Awards as his first ceremonial duty as newly-appointed President of the South of England Agricultural Society.
The winning students from land-based colleges in Sussex and Hampshire were Jennifer White, 18, from Level 2 at Hadlow College, and Natasha Stonestreet, 18, from Plumpton College for her study on roosting starlings.
Runners up included Wesley Ubsdale and Richard Easterbrook from Chichester College, David Casebow from Sparsholt College and Natasha Trickett from Plumpton College.
Derek Cleaver, chair of the society’s Education Committee, said: “This competition is an important part of the society’s educational charity work and the quality was excellent this year, coming from the young people of the future who will be working in countryside careers.”
Competition was also fierce in the clay pigeon shooting, run by Fletching-based Dan Kerwood and daughter Charlotte Kerwood, triple Commonwealth Games gold medallist and member of Team GB in both London and for Rio in 2016.
Charlotte won the ladies’ High Gun trophy on Sunday with Steve Scott from Battle winning the men’s High Gun and Guy Franklin from Haywards Heath who was part of the winning group who won first prize in the Team Shoot Challenge.
Crowds also gathered for the newest attraction to the show - the Lamb Grand National - with the main ring occupied by Herdwick sheep racing round the track, clearing fence as they went.
Other crowd pleaser were the Kent and Surrey bloodhounds and the cavalcade of hounds on Sunday. Dogs of every breed and type formed a big part of the weekend.
Michelle Nudds added: “The whole weekend really has been a true celebration of our glorious countryside.”