Shanes Castle Irish Game Fair postponed to 2022
The organisers of the Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival planned for Shanes Castle, Antrim on 31 July to 1 August 2021 have reluctantly decided that the Fair will be postponed until 2022.
Director Albert Titterington, a veteran of 68 fairs over 41 years stated: “We had no realistic option other than to reluctantly postpone the Shanes Castle this year, given the increasing uncertainty regarding any easing of Covid restrictions/regulations going forward in Northern Ireland.
“Factoring in the additional potential new risk from the Delta variant we had no option than to reluctantly decide to postpone the Game Fair until 25-26 June 2022.”
Stressing that the decision had not been taken taken lightly, Albert Titterington said: “An event of our size meant that we would see huge numbers of exhibitors, visitors and competitors due to come from all over the UK and Ireland.
“And despite our proud history of award winning public events professionally organised over 40 years, we felt that current climate of uncertainty was not conducive to delivering a safe event to our normal high standard for the thousands wishing to attend.”
Albert Titterington explained that they had carefully monitored such events in GB and had tactically set the date of fair one week later than the Ragley Hall Game Fair – the biggest in the world. And he confirmed the organisers plans had followed closely the Burghley Game & Country Fair which took place on 29-31 May with the same organiser planning one this weekend.
Albert Titterington said that like the Burghley organisers, the Shanes Castle event would also have involved professionally operated pre-ticketing in order to restrict numbers if necessary and comply with tracking and tracing requirements.
Albert Titterington added: “We had also advised Antrim Council’s Environment Health Department that, in line with what was happening in GB, we had put in place full precautions to run a safe event, including a new layout and programme; a safer form of tentage; sanitising procedures, signage and stations; and in consultation with our professional consultant we had protocols for the public, trade, staff, competitors and competition organisers.
“To cap it all, our competitions, displays and attractions were in place and following a high powered promotional campaign throughout the year in Irish Country Sports & Country Life magazine, along with posters and flyers, our Virtual Game Fair running worldwide on the Internet, our soaring social media presence and and press coverage, we were clearly confident of a huge demand for the Fair to take place this year.
“Unfortunately, however, NI is behind GB on events taking place and now with even more uncertainty from the UK government in delaying the exit from lockdown, coupled to Executive delays giving their guidance, and the threat from a third wave of the Delta variant, we considered that it was in everyone’s interest to postpone until 2022.”
But never one to be beaten entirely on delivering game fair festivals for many thousands of eager members of the public, Albert Titterington had this to say: “Between now and 2022 we will be implementing our ‘Plan B’ which we had been working on daily in order to to build even more on the success of The Virtual Game Fair www.thevirtualgamefair.com Impressively for a relatively new Internet start up there have been upwards of 203,000 visitors since its launch in August last year.
“I can state categorically that public participation online from all over Ireland, GB and indeed worldwide - plus another major initiative currently under wraps will continue to focus firmly on Antrim and its environs.”
Finally, Albert Titterington and the organising team paid tribute to the support given to the fairs by TourismNI and Antrim and Newtownabbey Council and added that they look forward to running an even bigger and better fair in 2022 with all the many benefits that accrue to Antrim and to Northern Ireland generally.