Belfast Telegraph

Balmoral Show: 50 chefs in a food tent, a health village and robot milkers... all in an extended event

By Linda Stewart

Fifty chefs will cook up a storm at the Balmoral Show this week as the agricultural extravaganza extends to four days for the first time.

The popular NI Food Pavilion will showcase more than 100 local producers and this year the show will see the introduction of a new Health and Fitness Village that will appeal to gym buffs and outdoor lovers alike.

Ireland's biggest agricultural show kicks off tomorrow morning, with Saturday added to the mix for the first time.

Royal Ulster Agricultural Society chief executive Colin McDonald has said the decision to extend Balmoral Show into a fourth day was taken primarily to encourage more southern visitors to the event.

"We are working from a firm base in this regard. Visitor patterns to our winter fair event are already confirming a significant increase in visitor numbers from the Republic of Ireland," he said.

"We have a full catalogue of livestock competition events scheduled for the final day. This will include the new 'champion of champions' classes, which will see the champion animals across the dairy, beef and equine classes coming into the show ring together."

The organisers are promising a superb day out, as food and fitness are served up alongside farming, a jam-packed entertainment programme and attractions.

Live robotic milking will be on display alongside the Spar arena, which offers a dedicated area for fun family entertainment.

The agri pavilion will provide a platform for companies to engage in networking and business over the four days, complemented by impressive outdoor machinery trade stands.

Audiences around the main arena will be captivated by the Kangaroo Kid and his tantalising motorcycle display.

Meanwhile, the Eikon shopping village is perfect for spending an afternoon browsing the goodies on offer.

The Downtown Radio show stage will provide a platform for emerging and established local acts to take to the mike and provide musical entertainment.

Animal lovers will see everything from prize winning stock and international show jumpers to the cute and cuddly inhabitants of the children's farm.

The Young Farmers' 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.

The Balmoral Show opens at 9.30am and runs to 6pm on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and 9.30am to 8.00pm on Thursday. Admission charges range from £2 to £18 with discounted early bird rates available at balmoralshow.co.uk. Children under five years are free when accompanied by an adult.

Belfast Telegraph

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