Buzz is back as visitors return to Balmoral Show

There was a buzz around Balmoral Show today as the sun came out to greet the return of Northern Ireland’s largest agrifood event.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 5:51 pm
Judging takes place on the Limousin cattle at the Balmoral show, Lisburn. The Balmoral show is Northern Ireland's largest agriculture and food event and runs from 22-25 September. Picture date: Wednesday September 22, 2021.

Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) operations director Rhonda Geary said it was fantastic to welcome people back to Balmoral Park.

She said: “We severely missed the show when it didn’t run in 2020. We took the decision early on this year to try and run Balmoral Show 2021, more for the charitable objectives of the society – to promote exhibitors, both livestock and trade, and to promote agricultural in Northern Ireland.

“It has been a challenging time for us certainly because of the Covid restrictions and how they were changing throughout the earlier part of the year.

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“Lots of decisions had to be made on what classes we could run by September. As we got closer to the event we amended things as restrictions were relaxed.

“We’re very happy with how the show has turned out. There’s a great buzz about Balmoral Park, we’re so blessed with the weather as well.

“It’s nice to see people out again socialising. You can see all around the place people meeting up who maybe only ever see each other at Balmoral Show.”

All ticket holders must show proof of full vaccination or a negative Covid test and visitors were advised to book their ticket in advance. No tickets are available to buy on arrival at the venue.

Rhonda said: “We’ve had very few problems at the gate. People have known what they need to bring with them under Covid regulations and people have all bought their tickets online in advance of the show.”

The show is running at a reduced capacity of 22,000 people per day.

Rhonda said: “We know it’s not going to be the roaring success of 2019, but we’re just delighted to be able to entertain so many people again.

“The livestreaming was very, very popular as well. It’s new for us but it’s something I think we will continue to do.”

The News Letter stand is also back at Balmoral this year, with the team happy to be welcoming old friends and new for a cup of tea and a chat.

Yesterday Ian Paisley Junior and Robin Swann were among those who stopped by to say ‘hello’.

News Letter’s Gillian Devaney said: “It seems like a lifetime has passed since we were last here. It’s so good to be back and even better that the sun is shining.”

First Minister Paul Givan said the very fact that Balmoral Show is able to go ahead was a sign of “normality coming back”.

Mr Givan said: “It has been over two years since the show has been able to take place and I know the exhibitors are delighted. We have over 300 exhibits taking place.

“It is fantastic that we have been able to get this show back and I know that everybody is really excited about the next number of days.”