Armagh County Agriculture Show (ACAS) has announced its securing of a 12-month licence from DAERA’s Forest Service, which will see the organisation manage the entire grassland area at Gosford Forest Park for the next 12 months.
“The land extends to 23ha and will be supervised by the show society for the agreed period,” confirmed ACAS chairman Stephen Hamilton.
“In the first instance, the agreement allows us to increase the footprint of this year’s show by 50%. This is in line with the growing exhibitor demand for space; the need to provide the general public with more room and to ensure that all relevant health and safety criteria are exceeded.
“This is a tremendous news story for Armagh Show. It brings the event on to a new level. We have tremendous plans in place for our 2017 spectacular. These include new trafficking arrangements, the full details of which will be announced over the coming weeks.”
Mr Hamilton explained that the show society will undertake to manage the flock of sheep, poultry and the herd of deer resident at Gosford.
“We will also be the point of contact for all events taking place in the showfields over the next 12 months. These include the Rare Breeds’ event, the Armagh Vintage Rally and the Poultry Fair. Obviously, we would like to encourage other groups, with events in mind, to consider making use of the facilities at Gosford.”
Commenting on these developments, Forest Service Chief Executive Malcolm Beatty said: “Armagh Show Society has improved their event at Gosford Forest Park on an annual basis during the last number of years and we are pleased to be able to provide the society with an opportunity through the licence agreement to build on this foundation moving forward.”
Mr Hamilton confirmed that ACAS is now accepting entries for the 2017 Show.
“And these include poultry,” he added.
“There is a chance that the current Avian Flu Restrictions will be lifted at the end of May. And, in such circumstances, it is only right that poultry breeders should be given every opportunity of taking part in this year’s event. Armagh now ranks on a par with Balmoral from a poultry perspective.
“Last year, approximately 500 birds were entered for the various classes by a wide range of enthusiasts. And these included breeders from the Republic of Ireland. We want to build on all of this for the future.”
Mr Hamilton also confirmed that tickets for this year’s show can now be bought on-line.
“To access the E Ticketing arrangements, it’s simply a case of visiting the Show website. Purchased tickets will then be e mailed to recipients.
“This option saves cash on the day and also speeds up entry to the venue. Those opting to buy E Tickets will have their names automatically entered for a draw. The first prize is an overnight stay-for-two in the Armagh City Hotel plus two months’ free gym membership.
“Other prizes include vouchers from Fane Valley Stores, Forthill Farm plus a hamper from White’s Speedicook.
“To buy the tickets, simply visit armaghshow.com.”
Armagh County show is one of the longest-running events of its kind in Ireland. The agri-food and rural focus of the Show remains its central theme and this continues to be the driving force behind its organisation. However, in addition, every effort is made to cater for all tastes and interests of the thousands of visitors that attend the event each year and the programme is constantly updated to reflect and respond to those interests.
For more information, please contact show secretary Flo McCall on (028) 3752 2333 or visit the show website: www.armaghshow.com