Belfast Telegraph

In Pictures Balmoral Show 2011: Lovely girls hog limelight

By Clare Weir

While farm animals strutted their stuff for the judges inside the King’s Hall, glamorous females among the masses went on parade for the GOSH Best Dressed competition at Balmoral Hall.

In the agricultural show rings, white stock-showing coats and overalls were, of course, the order of the day.

But on stage, out of the way of the showers, there were frills, parasols, skyscraper heels and fascinators all on show — although there were no fashion faux pas like Princess Beatrice’s much-parodied headgear at the Royal wedding a couple of weeks ago.

Buzz words for the day were ‘vintage’, ‘Audrey Hepburn’ and ‘mix and match’ with most admitting they sourced at least part of their outfits from celeb-copying website As Seen On Screen.

Ulster glamour girl Katie Larmour presented the competition with Hayley and Lisa Harrison from IN! magazine and former Miss Northern Ireland and modelling agency boss Judith Wilson acting as judges.

Among the competitors were country girl Claire O’Brien from Donegal in a matching straw hat and bag, to reflect the fact that she and her family had been exhibiting cattle at the show all week.

Keeping the side up for the older ladies was Marie Burns, a harpist from Moira, who revealed she had used her bus pass to make her way to Belfast and joked: “I made a mistake, I thought it was a glamorous granny competition!”

Making it a family affair were mother and daughter Catherine and Jayne Higgins from Magherafelt, who bought their outfits from different shops on the same street.

There was joy for young Jayne, dressed in a monochrome graffiti-style fitted dress and pink feathered fascinator, as she took the runner-up prize — a meal for two at the King’s Head pub, a make-up hamper from competition sponsor GOSH and a free hairdo from the Alex Mekki salon.

A huge crowd gathered to watch the crowning of the winner, Nicole Caldwell from Banbridge, resplendent in a grey and white strapless empire-line frock and a parasol.

Ms Caldwell took the top prize of a week’s holiday for two in Lake Garda, Italy, sponsored by tour firm Top Flight.

Belfast Telegraph