Ballymoney Show has a unique track record for co-operation

Ballymoney Show continues to represent an invaluable shop window for the farming and food industries in the North Antrim area.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 8:44 am

What makes it unique is the tremendous track record of co-operation that has been built up over many years between the event’s organising committee and three local Young Farmers’ Clubs: Finvoy, Kilraughts and Moycraig.

Adding to the attraction of the event is its location in the very heart of Ballymoney. It also vies with Lurgan as the first local show of the year – following on a fortnight after Balmoral.

North Antrim is one of the most important agricultural areas in Northern Ireland. The region boasts a selection of our elite dairy beef and sheep breeders. All of this is reflected courtesy of Ballymoney Show as is the rich heritage of artisan food production and other rural enterprises that so characterise the area.

Carol McMullan has been the event’s press officer since 2002.

She explained:“I first visited the show as a young child, accompanying my father, who had a regular trade stand at the event.

“Upon joining Finvoy Young Farmers’ Club, I was appointed to the position of show steward and then progressed to the position I hold today.

“Ballymoney Show does a tremendous job in showcasing what the North Antrim countryside has to offer.

“It provides those living in urban areas with a unique insight into what the farming and rural way-of-life is all about. Without doubt, Ballymoney Show can look forward to a bright future.

“We will celebrate our 113th show in 2022. The dates are already in the diary. They are Friday, June 3rd and Saturday, June 4th.”

Carol confirmed that 2020 had been a challenging year for the show, from a financial perspective.

She further explained:“We took the decision to cancel this year’s event at an early stage. This was to give our sponsors and other supporters a degree of certainty. Ballymoney is one of the earliest events in Northern Ireland’s show calendar.

“But we will still have significant costs to incur during 2021. We own Ballymoney Showgrounds. Buildings on the site must be maintained to an acceptable standard and there is also the issue of insurance.”

Carol agrees that government support for the show in 2022 would help to ensure that the event can look to the future with confidence.

She concluded:“We cannot expect traditional sponsors to dig deep into their pockets next year, given the financial difficulties that many of these organisations have faced themselves, as a result of the Covid crisis.

“On that basis alone, a strong case can be made for government to step in and support all the local shows until such times as the impact of the Covid crisis fully recedes.”