Hats off to Armagh

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Armagh Show attracted fantastic crowds last Saturday.

I know the sun came out in the afternoon, but a lot of credit for the success of the event must be attributed to the foresight shown by the event’s organising committee.

The members took a genuine risk in securing a new tenancy arrangement with DAERA, which would allow them expand the footprint of the Gosford Forest Park site by 50%. In tandem with this, they radically changed the trafficking arrangements into the site.

But it all worked a treat. From what I could see the trade exhibitors had more room, while the members of the paying public had more of an opportunity to view the various livestock competition classes and the other events, which combined to make the show a tremendous visitor attraction. And, of course, Gosford is a majestic venue for such an event in the first place.

The innovative use of Armagh Show Society’s website to market the event should be regarded as another feather in the cap of all the people involved with last Saturday’s event.

Taking in the sights and sounds of last Saturday’s event renewed my faith in agricultural shows as valuable shop windows for our farming and food industries. I know that we export 85% of the food that we produce. But the farming and food sectors must never forget the consumers, who live and work on their door step.

This weekend sees Saintfield Show secure its share of the spotlight.

Here, too, the organisers have demonstrated their commitment to the event by using Balmoral Park and the Eikon Centre as the combined venue for the show. This has been the case for the past number of years and, from what I can gauge, the experiment has worked in terms of attracting more competitors and members of the general public to North Down’s farming celebration of the year.

Let’s just hope the sun comes out and everyone can enjoy a wonderful day out!