Healthy competition, good sportsmanship, family fun and community spirit will be at the core of this year’s 146th Balmoral Show, according to Royal Ulster Agricultural Society chief executive, Colin McDonald.
Mr McDonald made the comment yesterday as he unveiled details for this year’s event which will take place for the second time at the 65-acre Balmoral Park at the Maze.
Tens of thousands of people from all over Northern Ireland and beyond are set to attend Ireland’s largest agri food show, which runs from Wednesday, May 14 until Friday, May 16.
Speaking at yesterday’s launch event at the King’s Hall Pavilions in Belfast, Mr McDonald said members of the RUAS had been extremely encouraged by the support they received in the inaugural year at Balmoral Park.
“We are determined to build upon that success,” he added. “At the core of the show is healthy competition, good sportsmanship, family fun and community spirit. That’s what brings people back year on year, and we have sought to nurture these elements throughout our planning.
“We have made some subtle layout changes to the showground, primarily to improve the flow and overall experience for visitors.”
The RUAS chief executive said last year’s layout had been kept deliberately tight to maintain the traditional show buzz.
This year the garden village will have a new location and be interactive; there will be more horticultural stands; there will be a new class for a primary school painted wheelbarrow competition, as well as new classes in every section of the show; and the YFC tractor handling competition will return to the cattle lawns.
Speaking on behalf of the principal sponsor Ulster Bank, Ian Jordan, director, corporate banking division, described the Balmoral Show as the highlight of his year.
“Last year was a particular landmark and the move [to the Maze] was better than we could reasonably have expected, given the change,” he said.
“The event offers us an opportunity to get involved with the community.
“The Balmoral Show represents all that is good, vibrant and dynamic about Northern Ireland.”
Michelle Shirlow, chief executive of Food NI, said that in recent years Northern Ireland has found its voice in terms of food – and the Balmoral Show has played a big part in that.
This year’s Food NI pavilion will include stands representing 80 companies and the participation of 35 Taste of Ulster chefs.
She added: “The Pavilion provides an unrivalled Northern Ireland food and drink experience.”
For more information, go to www.balmoralshow.co.uk.