Balmoral Show organisers delighted with attendance figure of over 100,000

Organisers of the Balmoral Show are delighted to have welcomed over 100,000 visitors during the first full show since the coronavirus pandemic.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 16th May 2022, 9:57 am

And despite the success of this year’s event, thoughts are already turning to 2023 in a further sign of the return to normality.

There was no Balmoral in 2020, and the 2021 edition was held in a reduced format and delayed until September.

Rhonda Geary, operations director, said prior expectations of over 100,000 visitors to the 2022 event had most certainly been surpassed.

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Huge crowds attended the Balmoral Show on each of the four days

“We haven’t got our final figures totalled up yet, but we definitely had over 100,000 over the course of the four days,” she told the News Letter.

“We’re back to what we would have been pre-Covid in terms of attendance, the business being done by exhibitors, everything. The feedback has been very good, but obviously it will take a good week or two to work through all the information that we get back in.”

She continued: “We are not in record-breaking territory, but we are certainly back to business as normal.”

Reflecting on the return to a full-scale show following the pandemic, the Balmoral operations director said: “From speaking to exhibitors – both livestock and trade – and from speaking to visitors alike everybody was delighted to be back, to be doing business, and to meet people face-to-face.

“There was definitely a fantastic feeling about the show, very positive.

“The weather was a wee bit of a mixed bag earlier in the week but it was much better towards Friday and Saturday when we had fantastic weather.”

One of the major losses, Ms Geary said, during the reduced format in September was the full return of the championship prizes.

“It was also nice to be able to get out to present the championship prizes again,” she said.

“While we did do that in September, but having a full complement of livestock here, getting our champions crowned and then our champion of champions presented yesterday was great.”

Looking ahead to what comes next, she said: “Balmoral Show is obviously the first show of the show season. So now that Balmoral is over, all the local shows – the county shows and such – will be starting to kick off and will go throughout the summer.

“For us, as soon as we get our sort of mop up done for 2022, we will start planning right away. The first thing to do is get our judges decided. We have 100 or 150 judges to invite from all the different sections.”

She added: “It’s a bit early to say what our plans are, but I would certainly be hoping for a full show with some new and interesting attractions, we hope. And avian flu, hopefully, will be sorted out so we will hope to be back to full strength.”

One of the highlights of the whole show came on Saturday, when Northern Ireland claimed victory in the Six-Nations sheep shearing championship.

The competition, which rotates between the competing nations, was won on home turf at Balmoral.