The Balmoral Show 2014: Pictures, video and full results from Northern Ireland's biggest agricultural event
Northern Ireland's biggest agricultural event - the Balmoral Show - has begun.
Hundreds of cattle, pigs and sheep are having last minute touches done to their coiffures as they prepare for their moment in the limelight.
And as their owners anxiously watch the weather forecast, it looks like we'll get a break from the torrential rain just in time for the Balmoral.
The Met Office is predicting a sunny few days for the show in its second year at the former Maze Prison site – at least for the latter part of it.
Light rain could edge in this morning, but drier, brighter weather moving in from the west is expected in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, tomorrow and Friday are expected to be bright, dry and warm.
The organisers are also praying that the traffic chaos of last year doesn't materialise – and that more of the 80,000 expected visitors will opt for public transport.
Last year was a gridlock nightmare. One motorist reported that it took more than an hour-and-a-half to travel from the Moira roundabout to Lisburn, while the cattle competition had to be postponed after the judges became bogged down in the congestion.
Organisers have estimated that the show traffic volume will be the same as the daily rush hour, so it is scheduled to start at 9.30am to avoid this.
"To arrive at the traffic management plan, the existing Balmoral Show traffic profile was measured, factored up, added to the local traffic and computer modelled," a spokesman said.
"Main routes were identified but reserve routes are included to provide flexibility on the day. Motorway gantry signs, variable information signs, static signs and media will be used to provide information to approaching traffic."
The PSNI is to direct traffic, bringing visitors to different gates.
As preparations for the 146th Balmoral Show were fine-tuned, chief executive Colin McDonald urged visitors to consider using public transport.
Special bus, coach and train transport arrangements have been put in place, including a free shuttle bus service from Lisburn train station and coach day tours offered by Translink.
"We have teamed up with Translink to provide coach day tours from a range of regional towns which represent a convenient and economical way to visit the show," Mr McDonald said.
"Bus passengers who purchase early bird tickets on the Balmoral Show website will be able to enjoy priority entrances at the event."
This year will see the introduction of five new classes; four equine – Maxi Cob, Young Event Horse, Clydesdale Young Handler and Ridden Irish Draught – and Lleyn sheep classes.
Mr McDonald said changes had been made to improve the overall experience for visitors.
"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," he said.
The Balmoral Show takes place at Balmoral Park, Lisburn – the former Maze site – from today until Friday.
Opening times are 9.30am-8.30pm (today and tomorrow) and 9.30am-8pm (Friday).
Ticket prices are £15 for adults; £9 for children aged 12-17; £11 for seniors and £2 for children aged 5-11. Children under five go free.
Full details can be found at www.balmoralshow.co.uk.