All set for 150th Balmoral Show

Dessie Blackadder


Dessie Blackadder

THE Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) will host the 150th Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank.

The milestone anniversary Show promises all that is great about Balmoral, with an exciting mix of food, farming and family fun throughout the four days.

Northern Ireland’s largest agri-food event will return to Balmoral Park from May 16th-May 19th and will once again extend to four days, following on from the success of last year.

The 2018 Show will also extend in size, as a new, permanent covered exhibition space which will complement the existing Eikon Exhibition Centre, will offer 4,000 sqm of additional exhibition space. The Dr E F Logan Hall will be operational in time for this year’s Show and will house the cattle throughout the 2018 event, replacing the former cattle marquee.

RUAS Chief Executive, Alan Crowe commented: “We are thrilled to launch our 150th Balmoral Show, this is a very special year as we celebrate this landmark anniversary and hope that visitors will enjoy commemorating with us. Although there have been significant changes in the past 150 years, the essence of Balmoral Show has very much remained the same, whether your interest is farming, local food, shopping or family fun, the Show continues to deliver a unique day out and that’s what continues to bring visitors back year on year and has allowed the event to reach this milestone.

“Following the success of last year’s four day event, which saw visitor numbers reach an all-time high, we are determined to continue and build on that success, in partnership with our principal sponsor, Ulster Bank. The 2018 Show will be bigger than ever, with an increase in both size and scale and our 150th anniversary plans to look forward to. We are also delighted to see an increase in many livestock sectors, new attractions, new stands and more than ever to see, do and enjoy.”

Richard Donnan, Head of Ulster Bank Northern Ireland, said: ‘I don’t think people need an additional reason to attend Balmoral Show, such is its central importance in Northern Ireland’s calendar, but the 150th anniversary makes it all the more special and adds another element to this fantastic event. Ulster Bank is delighted to be an integral part of it.

‘Balmoral Show encapsulates everything that is great about our local food and agriculture industries and sponsoring the show for a tenth time symbolises our continuing strong support for this hugely important sector. We will be at the show to demonstrate the real and meaningful help that we can provide to our customers in these sectors and beyond.’

To commemorate the 150th Show, a visit to the special anniversary marquee is a must and will allow visitors to journey through the last 150 Shows. The exhibition will include archive photography, a timeline, artefacts and souvenirs detailing the history of the Show.

The event offers a varied day out for the entire family, in addition to the numerous livestock classes, there are over 650 trade stands, which include everything from ladies clothing, tourism and skincare to Plant Machinery. Food is a major part of every Balmoral Show and as always the NI Food Pavilion will showcase the very best of local food and drink.

The Agri Pavilion provides a platform for businesses to network over the four days and the impressive outdoor machinery trade stands will return with the Plant Machinery section moving to a new area to allow for expansion.

As always, a wide range of family entertainment and attractions will be on offer. The Main Arena has many exhilarating attractions. This year the ever popular Bolddog Lings freestyle motocross team make a welcome return to Balmoral Park. Other attractions in the Main Arena include the exciting Pony Club Games, the thrilling Inter Hunt Chase, the

International Show Jumping classes and the Cattle Parade which showcases winners and breeds.

The family fun continues in the SPAR Arena, which includes an array of entertainment, from jiving demonstrations to falconry displays. The Downtown Radio Show Stage provides a platform for musical acts to perform for visitors, with top names like Lisa McHugh and Derek Ryan in this year’s Line-up.

For children, a visit to the Tesco Children's Farm is a must for the chance to hold and even feed the baby animals. The fun fair is also a popular attraction with younger visitors.

The Healthy Horticulture Area is set to return and has again increased in size and scope this year. There will be a polytunnel with growing displays of fruits, vegetables and herbs as well as the Horticulture Forums ‘Grow Marquee’ which will showcase displays from a range of local growers.

The Balmoral Show would not be complete without the energy and enthusiasm of the Young Farmer’s Clubs of Ulster. The ever popular YFCU Tug of War Competition will draw the crowds as well as the Girls' Five-a Side Football and Machinery Handling Competitions.

Show-goers can download the Balmoral Show 2018 app, which will soon be available for download on iOS and Android. A trusty companion, the app has all the latest information and up-to-date announcements on the show as well as a site map and offline stand locater, day planner and the handy ‘Find my Car’ function.

Alan Crowe concluded by saying ‘We are as always indebted to our sponsors, especially our principal sponsor Ulster Bank as well as our six platinum sponsors Lidl, M&S, SPAR, Tesco, ABP and Fane Valley.

‘I would like to encourage visitors to avail of the fantastic public transport options on offer for Show-goers, details can be found on the Translink website.’

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