Belfast Telegraph

No kidding it's time to get ready for Balmoral Show

By Linda Stewart

The organisers of the Balmoral Show have promised a bigger and better event this year as the annual agricultural show increases in size by 10%.

The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society has also launched a new Balmoral Show app which will feature an interactive day planner and a find-your-car option.

This will be the first year that Ireland's biggest agricultural show makes use of the huge new Eikon pavilion at Balmoral Park on the former Maze site - the largest exhibition space in Ireland.

Marking the NI Year of Food and Drink, more than 100 producers will show off their wares in the food pavilion.

At yesterday's launch, Jilly Dougan of Edible Gardens revealed a polytunnel would be introduced at the show in May, providing a display of edible produce.

Visitors will also be able to watch live robotic milking and a packed timetable will offer everything from circus workshops to the amazing Bruce Airhead.

Royal Ulster Agricultural Society chief executive Colin McDonald said: "We were extremely encouraged by the increase in activity at the 2015 show. We are determined to build on that success.

"The 2016 show will be bigger again, with more livestock competitions, more stands and displays, and most importantly more to see, do and enjoy.

"It's incredible to think that when Balmoral Show first had a food pavilion it had nine exhibitors, and this year there are over 100. It goes to show how much our local industry has developed to make niche products and make products that find space on the supermarket shelves."

Nigel Walsh, director of commercial banking Northern Ireland at Ulster Bank, added: "We see our involvement in the show as a real demonstration of Ulster Bank's commitment to the sector, and indeed, we have significant funds available to support it.

"We are here to provide real and meaningful help for what matters to our customers, from primary producers through to innovative food and drink manufacturers. And we look forward to further showcasing that."

Animals to feature at the show will range from prize-winning stock to the cute inhabitants of the children's farm and the Rare Breed Survival Trust stand. 

The Balmoral Show is also hosting the six nations wool handling event, followed by a "test match" between Germany and Northern Ireland.

Colin McDonald said: "It's important to get there in good time."

The Balmoral Show takes place at Balmoral Park, Lisburn, between Wednesday 11 and Friday 13 May 2016. Full details are at www.balmoralshow.co.uk.

Belfast Telegraph

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