Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Record crowds flock to Saintfield farm show

Crowds poured through the gates of the Saintfield Show on Saturday as it celebrated its 65th anniversary in glorious summer sunshine.

Visitors from as far away as Italy and Montana dropped in at the Co Down event.

Also making her first ever trip to Saintfield and District Agricultural Show, was the Stormont Agriculture Minister, Michelle Gildernew. The Minister mingled with livestock exhibitors and was accompanied by show officials, Dr Jimmy McKelvey, Jim Kirk, and Howard McIlwaine.

“It is a fantastic show. I am very impressed with the numbers and quality of livestock on display. The weather is super and everyone is in good form despite the challenges facing the agricultural industry.”

The Minister said she was delighted to see strong competition in the sheep section. Sheep entries at several earlier shows were affected by new regulations on electronic identification (EID) of sheep.

“There have been a few hiccups with the introduction of EID, but my department is continuing to help farmers through the transition period. The system is working really well.”

Other visitors to Saintfield Show included Ulster Farmers' Union president John Thomson; Northern Ireland Shows Association chairman Randal Hayes and Royal Ulster Agricultural Society president Robin Morrow.

Organisers reported increased entries in all sections of the catalogue. The horse and pony section dominated the event, and included a new class for ex-race horses, and a large selection of miniature horses and donkeys.

“We are delighted with the success of this year's 65th anniversary show. The weather is tremendous and this has helped to attract record numbers of visitors to Saintfield Show,” said Raymond Brady, who kept the crowds entertained throughout the day with his witty commentary.

The packed agenda included the more serious equine, cattle, sheep, poultry and home industry competitions.

There were a selection of trade stands featuring hand-made walking sticks and shepherds' crooks, crafts, home bakes, and toys. Other attractions included bouncy slides, vintage vehicles, and competitions for the best dog in fancy dress.

Younger visitors admired the rainbow rocking horses which are handmade by Michael Campbell from Kilkeel and there was huge demand for ice cream, cold drinks and strawberries from the stalls .

Spa YFC was hosting a stock judging competition, which challenged participants to place a pen of four sheep. The winner was Charollais sheep breeder, Liz Mawhinney from Newtownards..

Top honours in the beef line-up went to the Limousin leader, a tremendous home-bred four-year-old cow from Robert Clyde's Clydevalley herd in Templepatrick.

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