ORGANISERS of this year's Great Dorset Steam Fair are looking to set a new world record for the largest gathering of steam engines on the planet.

The special '500 at 50' attraction is being organised to mark the event's milestone 50th anniversary.

Five hundred steam engines from across the globe will be making their way to the Tarrant Hinton showground to be part of the show. These include engines from as far a field as New Zealand and Canada.

Around quarter of a million visitors are expected at the event, which is scheduled for five days this summer.

Great Dorset Steam Fair managing director Martin Oliver said: "We are so excited to be celebrating 50 years and the ‘500 at 50’ display will be a sight to behold.

"This will be the largest gathering of steam engines yet and I love the idea that a container ship of steam engines will be making its way across the Atlantic to get to us.

"Every section is in merriment mode this year and we look forward to our visitors experiencing the best that their favourite section has to offer.

"Come and celebrate 50 years of outstanding entertainment with us and be a part of an historical landmark event."

Among those making the annual pilgrimage to Tarrant Hinton will be Guy Martin's 30-tonne replica World War One tank, Deborah II, which currently resides at the Norfolk Tank Museum.

There will also be a 'homecoming' road run parade, from Bovington through Blandford town centre to the steam fair site.

And this year's live music festival will be the biggest in the event's history, with more than 100 acts performing on six stage over five days.

The Wurzels are back by popular demand, as are some of the UK's best known tribute acts.

Other attractions include Big Pete's Monster Truck Display Team, and Paul Swift's 'Britalian' Job and Xtreme Stunt Team.

Mr Oliver said: "When my late dad started this event as a small informal gathering of engines on a village green, nobody could have imagined that 50 years later it would be the biggest event of its kind in the world.

"We have all really enjoyed taking trips down memory lane in putting this anniversary event together, and it has been emotional remembering all the characters that have helped us along the way to this landmark.

"We sadly lost dad back in 2009 and I know he would be thrilled that the show has reached this glorious 50 year milestone.

"We have so much planned across the entire showground; we want to celebrate in style across the whole event and make him proud."

The Great Dorset Steam Fair is set for August 23-27.

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