Balmoral Show – primed to become an all-island event
This year’s Balmoral Show takes place from next Wednesday through to Friday ( May 14th to 16th). But according to RUAS Chief Executive Colin McDonald, Balmoral has the potential to develop into a successful, four day event.
“Trade space is up 10 per cent year on year,” he added.
“And this is reflected in the number of additional companies taking part in 2014. What’s more, the vast majority of these additional businesses taking part have a strong agri food background.”
On the issue of whether the Show could be extended to a fourth day, Colin McDonald said that the final decision was not one for him to make.
“This is a matter for the members of the RUAS Show Dates Committee. They will meet as a group in the autumn. And yes I can confirm that the issue of extending the show by a further day is on the agenda. But RUAS members will be solely guided by the feedback they receive from stakeholders on the success of this year’s show.
“The 2013 event was a resounding success. But how much of this was down to the novelty factor associated with the new venue? We will be carrying out an extensive survey of the visitors who attend next week’s show. And the results of this will be scrutinised by the Show Dates Committee membership, as they discuss the future options for Balmoral.”
Turning to the not insignificant issue of visitor access to the Balmoral Park site, Colin McDonald stressed that a repeat of the traffic chaos that erupted on the Wednesday of last year’s show will not feature in 2014.
“Traffic coming from the West will be directed down to Junction 7 of the M1 motorway. As a result, they will enter the site via Blaris or Harry’s Road,” he further explained.
“With regard to parking, visitors will pay as they exit the showgrounds. Booths will be available for this purpose. This should help ease the congestion for people leaving the showgrounds at the end of each day.”
Commenting on the scope of the attractions lined up for the show itself, Colin highlighted the fact that the number of competition classes at Balmoral continues to grow.
“This year we are seeing the growth in the number of equine and sheep classes. All of this bodes well for the future of Balmoral,” he concluded.
“RUAS members would also like to see greater numbers of cattle breeders from the Republic of Ireland taking part in Balmoral Show. For that to happen there needs to be a full harmonisation of the animal health status that is officially recognised for both parts of the island. And, at the end of the day, this is a matter that must be sorted out by the respective Departments of Agriculture in Belfast and Dublin.”