Award-winning country star Lisa McHugh will this year headline a stellar jam-packed and fun-filled programme of events to mark the 176th staging of Omagh Show.
Hailed as the hottest property of a vibrant country scene, McHugh, originally from Glasgow but currently living in Fermanagh has picked up a plethora of awards since taking the world of country music by storm.
A four-time winner of ‘Female Vocalist of the Year’, the gifted songstress has just recently been short-listed for ‘Female Artist of the Year’ and ‘Album of the Year’ for her latest offering ‘Wildfire’ at the RTE Country Music Awards later this month.
McHugh, along with the likes of Nathan Carter, Derek Ryan, Johnny Brady and others have transformed the country scene in recent years and securing the services of one of the most sought after acts is not only a major coup for the Tyrone Farming Society but yet another demonstration of the great lengths the organising body will go to to ensure that local farming’s big day out is a memorable occasion for all concerned.
In recent years organisers have left no stone unturned as they have focused on marrying the traditional with the modern and fusing the old with the new in a celebration of the sounds, smells and tastes of the countryside.
The 2016 offering is no exception. Year on year the Society has shown determination and innovation in their pursuit of excellence and, under the direction of chairman Alan Kyle, vice-chairman Thomas Harkin, secretary Edwin Cartwright and a hard-working committee, this year’s farming festival promises to be bigger and better than ever.
Many of the old favourites are back by popular demand but this year’s showpiece occasion will be enhanced by a number of new additions, including the hosting of a heat of the ‘2016 All Ireland Cook Off’, a growing poultry section, the laying of a new all-weather equestrian arena and, of course, the eagerly-anticipated appearance of the new queen of country.
While the programme of events may have changed dramatically over 176 years of the agricultural extravaganza the ethos of the Society has remained steadfastly the same - providing fun for all the family.
For the young at heart 2016 will offer anything and everything from competing for prizes in an ever-growing schools’ section - undoubtedly one of the great successes of the show in recent years – to public speaking, amusements, children’s zone and numerous other fun-filled activities while the older generation can dander at their leisure through the marvels of the home industries marquee, the magnificent food hall with its myriad of tasty treats and mouth-watering delights or the numerous stands of big boy’s toys (machinery) and an enhanced display of vintage vehicles.
Of course, the showing of quality livestock remains the staple of any agriculture showpiece and few can boast a range and variety of classes to compare with Omagh. There is something for everyone’s taste from muscular beef bred bulls and cows, the cream of the crop in dairy stock, scores of classes catering for 23 different breeds in the sheep fold to our feathered friends in the poultry section and the new additions for 2016 those cute Pygmy goats - all pristinely prepared and perfectly presented to catch the eye of the judge.
If all things equestrian float your boat, then fear not Omagh Show can provide you with your fix. Once again more than 1300 horses and riders, many of them with an international pedigree, are expected to compete of a total prize fund in excess of £20, 000 and the kudos of winning one of the major competitions including the TRM/Horseware Grand Prix, the McGinn Speed and the Puissance, to mention but a few.
A newly-built all weather arena will enhance the equestrian programme for competitors and organisers alike with action beginning first light on Friday, June 1 to dusk the following day.
Beyond that the annual barbecue and YFC tractor handling will take place on the Friday evening with the Fashion Show, Dog Show, Parade of Prizewinners, on-stage entertainment and many other highlights adding to a bumper programme of events on the Saturday.
So if you want to jive, quick-step, waltz or simply sit back, take in the sights and marvel at the many wonders of the countryside then underline Omagh Show in your calendar or diary for Saturday, July 2.