2013-04-22 xml
New Chapter for Balmoral Show

Ireland’s largest agri-food show has moved! And there is no moving away from the fact that one of the biggest attractions of the 2013 Balmoral Show is likely to be its new home, Balmoral Park.

After 117 years at its south Belfast site, the RUAS annual show will begin a new chapter in its 159 year history at new Showgrounds just down the M1 motorway.

Guild of Agricultural Journalists visit the new Balmoral Park at the Maze, currently being prepared for this year's Balmoral Show which takes place on May 15-17. Tom Morrow, Guild of Agricultural Journalists, Colin McDonald, RUAS chief executive, and Tracy O'Toole, RUAS marketing executive, view the work in progress at Balmoral Park. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Tom Morrow, Guild of Agricultural Journalists, Colin McDonald, RUAS chief executive, and Tracy O'Toole, RUAS marketing executive, view the work in progress at Balmoral Park. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Balmoral Park within its overtly country setting is likely to represent a major draw not only for the regular 70,000 plus audience, but also for new visitors from all over Ireland lured by ease of access, car parking and by the bigger and better show promised by organisers.

The Balmoral Showgrounds in south Belfast could easily fit twice into the new 65 acre Balmoral Park site, which organisers have ensured encompasses all the much loved features of the former home along with some new and exciting additions and attractions.

Balmoral Park, with its well laid out walkways and paths (many bearing street names with a respectful nod to the past), green spaces and landscaped areas, allows a greater space for trade exhibitors, larger facilities and warm up/practice areas for competitors. It also allows for dedicated performance zones, a funfair and more space for visitors to simply relax and soak up the atmosphere.

The arena increases in size by 25%. Adjacent to this is an area of tiered seating and landscaped banks allowing spectators to view show jumping, pony club games, the inter hunt chase as well as the headline attraction - The Kangaroo Kid. The cattle lawn, sheep, horse and pig & goat rings also boast larger exhibiting areas.

Colin McDonald, RUAS chief executive, at the new main arena at Balmoral Park. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Colin McDonald, RUAS chief executive, at the new main arena at Balmoral Park. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The Show can now accommodate further livestock, making room for a number of other breeds including cattle with European Angus, Beef Shorthorns, Dexters and Irish Moiled, horses with Coloured Horses and Connemara Working Hunter and sheep with the addition of Swaledale and Lanark Type Blackface.

The show stage, musical acts and roaming entertainers cater to a wider range of tastes than ever before, with attractions from swing to samba, and mad scientists to mentalists.

Greater acreage has led to a greater number, size and range of exhibits, as RUAS Chief Executive, Colin McDonald explained, "We are very excited about the new Showgrounds and the amazing opportunities it presents to expand and enhance the Show. The move has allowed us not only to safeguard the future of this event and the Society but also to build upon our century long track record of showcasing food and farming excellence.”

"With so much more space available, we have been able to expand the area allocated to trade stands and offer many of our loyal exhibitors bigger and more prominent spaces, which in turn allows them to increase and enhance their displays. Patrons can look forward to some very elaborate and extravagant plant machinery exhibits this year. “

Ian Jordan, Director, Corporate Banking Division, Ulster Bank, says: “Ulster Bank first became principal sponsor of the Balmoral Show in 2009 with the intention of helping the show go from strength-to-strength, and we are delighted to see the move to the new site coming to fruition. We very much look forward to being at the forefront of what will be an historic and important three days for the agri-food sector in May as the Balmoral Show embarks on an important new chapter.”

Two of the most popular attractions - the Garden Village and the NI Food Pavilion have both expanded.

Work continues at Balmoral Park to get the new cattle lawn and cattle shed ready in time for this year's Balmoral Show. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Work continues at Balmoral Park to get the new cattle lawn and cattle shed ready in time for this year's Balmoral Show. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Food, a key component of the Balmoral Show, will be available in abundance throughout the Showgrounds and in the NI Food Pavilion which will offer more local variety than ever before.

The Garden village will be the location of the WI tea rooms, where you can enjoy a relaxing break while enjoying their new home industries section. The new feature show garden will be a combination of contemporary gardens, an elegant classical garden, a Japanese garden and an open countryside.

On site car parking is likely to be one of the most celebrated new additions - four official car parks around the Showgrounds, in addition to dedicated exhibitor car parks and disabled facilities, offers extensive car parking spaces for all visitors to the Show. Public transport will be available; more details will be released later.

Guild of Agricultural Journalists visit the new Balmoral Park at the Maze, currently being prepared for this year's Balmoral Show which takes place on May 15-17. Guild members tour the new site for Balmoral Show. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Guild of Agricultural Journalists members tour the new site for Balmoral Show. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Colin concluded, "Relocating the largest agri-food show in Ireland, within a 12 month timescale, has not been without its challenges. It was an ambitious target for the organising team, and we hope people will turn out in force to explore our new home and its many new features.”

"We have made every effort to make this Show a memorable one for all the right reasons. Year after year visitors tell us that they remember coming to the Show with their parents when they were young. We hope that the new Showgrounds will provide many new memories for families for years to come.”

Balmoral Show 2013

   
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