Tens of thousands of people from all over Northern Ireland and beyond are set to converge on the 65-acre Balmoral Park for Ireland’s largest agri-food show, running from Wednesday, May 14 until Friday, May 16 2014.
The relocation of the Show to Balmoral Park allowed livestock entries to be increased last year. And that will continue this year with the introduction of five new classes; four equine - Maxi Cob, Young Event Horse, Clydesdale Young Handler and Ridden Irish Draught – and Lleyn sheep classes.
According to Royal Ulster Agricultural Society Chief Executive, Colin McDonald, this years’ show is set to build on the strong foundations laid in 2013.
He said: “We were extremely encouraged by the support we received in our inaugural year at Balmoral Park and we are determined to build upon that success. 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 the overall experience for visitors.”
Ian Jordan, Director, Corporate Banking Division, Ulster Bank, says: “Ulster Bank is delighted to join with the RUAS to officially launch this year’s Balmoral Show. 2014 is our sixth year as principal sponsor and offers a fantastic opportunity to highlight Ulster Bank’s strong support for farmers and the wider agri-food and drink sector - including our specialist agriculture offerings and our dedicated £1billion for lending which is available for businesses this year. Last year saw the historic move to the new site at Balmoral Park and we very much look forward to the Show building on that success in 2014.”
The daily displays of pedigree and commercial cattle, sheep, poultry, pigs, goats, horses and ponies are supplemented with an array of static and mobile attractions. Firm favourites such as International Show Jumping, Pony Club Games, Riding for the Disabled, and the popular Children’s Farm are mixed with some interesting new features. Bull-erinas - is one such act, which is sure to amuse, or maybe bemuse patrons. Patrons are also warned against feeding the dinosaurs, but are encouraged to walk with them – watch out for 8 foot Jurassics shuffling along Barbour Avenue or Nugent Way.
In another first, Balmoral Park will also welcome competitors for the six nation’s sheep shearing competition. Taking place on Friday, May 16, the Northern Irish team will compete against England, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Wales and France to win the coveted title of six nations champion.
No show would be complete without the energy and enthusiasm of the Young Farmer’s Clubs of Ulster. This year the YFCU will complement it’s ever popular Tug of War, sheep shearing and ladies five aside football with drama and the return of tractor handling demonstrations.
Back by popular demand are freestyle motocross stunt team Bold Dog Lings in the main arena, and the Mountain Bike stunt team, Savage Skills, who will entertain the young and the young at heart within the activity zone.
There is a treat in store for shoppers, with both the NI Food Pavilion and Shopping Village offering a variety of excellent local goods and produce.
The Garden Village moves to a new location allowing it to grow and expand. Visitors can wander through the exciting themed gardens; listen to the music from the band stand, get gardening tips and take in the atmosphere of the event in the WI Pavilion.
Colin concluded by encouraging visitors to consider public transport options when planning their journey to the Show.
He said: “We are looking forward to welcoming thousands of visitors to the Show over the course of the three days. A traffic management plan for the event includes a provision for a new exhibitor and livestock entrance which will help with traffic flow, but we would strongly encourage visitors to consider public transport options when planning their journey to the Show.
Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank takes place at Balmoral Park, Lisburn between Wednesday 14 and Friday 16 May 2014. Opening times are 9.30am – 8.30pm (Wednesday and Thursday) and 9.30am – 8.00pm (Friday). Admission charges range from £2 to £18 depending on circumstances (i.e. child, youth, adult, full and half day tickets, and group and concession rates). Early bird rates are currently available. There is no charge for children under 5 years when accompanied by an adult.