Agriculture shows pull out all the stops for young and old
The growing popularity of our agricultural shows is reflected in the fact that many are now becoming bona fide two-day events.
A case in point was the weekend's Ballymoney Show, which attracted large crowds of visitors from the North Antrim area and beyond.
"We had tremendous crowds in the showgrounds on both Friday evening and throughout Saturday as a whole," North Antrim Agricultural Association President Frank McClure told the Belfast Telegraph.
"At the very heart of our activities on the Friday evening is our ever growing relationship with the Young Farmers Clubs. It is tremendous to see the commitment of so many young people helping to make Ballymoney Show such a success."
He continued: "Friday evenings also suit the large numbers of people who may have significant weekend commitments. Our committee will be actively looking at ways in which we can further expand the activities taking place on Day One of the Show."
Commenting on the event as a whole, Frank McClure confirmed that livestock entries had held up well.
"However, trade participation was well up on 2012," he stressed.
Saturday afternoon saw Maghera Charolais breeder Patrick Gallagher carry the field with his more than impressive three year old bull: Rumsden Fawhes. Bought for an undisclosed sum as a weanling, the bull looked every bit the champion in the show ring last weekend. His Ballymoney success follows on from a more than impressive outing at Balmoral last month.
Meanwhile, the 101st Lurgan Show was also proving a popular draw on Saturday.
Hosted by Lurgan and District Horse and Cattle Society Ltd, the County Armagh town's idyllic park was a hive of activity from early and throughout the day welcomed thousands of exhibitors, judges and spectators from all over the country, and as far afield as Australia.
Craigavon Mayor Carla Lockhart arrived in a horse-drawn carriage flanked by the PSNI, and was joined by other VIP guests including Ulster Farmers' Union president Harry Sinclair; Upper Bann MP David Simpson; MEP Diane Dodds; local MLA's Sammy Gardiner, Sidney Anderson and Joanne Dobson; and RUAS president John Bamber.
Show secretary Michele Doran was delighted with the success of the one-day event.
"We pulled out all the stops to ensure that last year's Centenary Show was a memorable occasion, but I am delighted to report that this year's event is on a par, if not better.
"Our scheduled classes have been well supported and we are indebted to our sponsors for their continued financial support."
The fun fair, magician and pet show proved popular attractions with younger show goers, while older visitors took a keen interest in the home industries section and the vintage cavalcade.