The 2014 Royal Ulster Winter Fair was the most successful to date, according to RUAS chief executive Colin McDonald.
“This year will mark the 30th hosting of the event and it will be held at its new home, Balmoral Park,” he said.
Mr McDonald added that the coming months will see the relocation of the King’s Hall Pavilions to the Maze, which will specifically facilitate the hosting of the Winter Fair at that venue.
“This development will open up a host of new opportunities for the Winter Fair,” he explained.
“A number of people have mooted the expansion of the event into a two-day celebration of dairying. This option can be given real consideration, once we have been able to accurately gauge the opinion of trade exhibitors and farmer visitors to the new venue at the beginning of December next.
“The Balmoral Park location gives us the opportunity to broaden the scope of the Winter Fair but a two day event is not presently under consideration.”
The Royal Ulster representative pointed out that the society will continue to play a key role in communicating the benefits of agriculture, food and the rural economy to the public at large. And this will be achieved courtesy of its hosting of Balmoral Show and the other agri-food events hosted under its auspices.
“Agriculture and food combined will remain a cornerstone of the economy as a whole,” he said.
“Farmers across Northern Ireland have demonstrated their resilience to remain sustainable through the toughest of times. I am fully aware of the challenges currently facing the milk sector at the present time. However, I am confident that the industry will continue to grow and develop. The general prospects for agri food remain extremely positive and this will be reflected in the returns that farmers get for their produce.”
Mr McDonald also confirmed that the society is benefiting from the general upturn in the economy, courtesy of the commercial events taking place at its Balmoral site.
“In the first instance, this is an obvious financial boost for the Royal Ulster. But it is also good news for farmers and agriculture as a whole, as it means that we can invest into Balmoral Show and the other charitable activities which we both organise and support,” he said.