It’s showtime ... crowds flock to Balmoral Show

People queue up as the Balmoral Show opens its doors this morning
People queue up as the Balmoral Show opens its doors this morning

The 147th Balmoral Show opens its doors today as Northern Ireland’s agricultural sector puts its best foot forward with a family-orientated extravaganza sure to delight the many thousands of visitors.

Balmoral Park, at the Maze site outside Lisburn, has been a hive of activity for weeks, with huge marquees being erected as showtime approached.

This year’s three-day show promises the usual components of food, farming excellence and showmanship alongside an even more exciting entertainment schedule.

Royal Ulster Agricultural Society chief executive Colin McDonald said organisers are hoping to build on the success of last year’s event.

“We were extremely encouraged by the increase in activity at the 2014 Show. We are determined to build on that success,” he said.

“The 2015 Show will be bigger again with more livestock competition, more stands and displays and, most importantly, more to see, do and enjoy.”

In an exciting first in Northern Ireland, visitors will be able to watch live robotic milking. This agricultural spectacle will enthral crowds as Lely and Draynes Farm team up with the RUAS to bring 40 cows to the Show, who line up of their own accord to be milked by a Lely Astronaut A4 robotic milking system.

Adrenaline junkies will be captivated by the main arena attraction as Jason Smyth Stunt Show performs daredevil moves throughout the three days. However, if you prefer to indulge in retail therapy the NI Food Pavilion and Shopping Village are perfect for spending an afternoon browsing the plethora of tantalising goodies on offer.

The Young Farmer’s Clubs of Ulster make a return as they encapsulate the energy and enthusiasm of the Show in their various activities from Tug of War to Tractor Handling.

Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, takes place at Balmoral Park, Lisburn, today until Friday. Opening times are 9.30am – 8.30pm today and tomorrow, and 9.30am – 8.00pm on Friday.