“THE sun will be shining down on our big day.”
That’s the prediction from Operations Manager, Freda Kinnarney who said the site at the Butterfield Estate for this Sunday’s Tullamore Show and FBD National Livestock Show is in tip, top shape.
“I know the weather is not what we would like at the moment but the sun will be shining on Sunday,” said Ms Kinnarney, speaking to the Tribune yesterday afternoon [Tuesday] in the wake of a heavy downpour.
Up to 60,000 spectators and competitors are expected to descend on the Butterfield Estate on Sunday for the national and international event.
The final touches are now being put to the site near Blueball by hard working organisers and volunteers said Ms Kinnarney.
The event will be officially opened on Sunday at 12 noon by the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Michael Creed but the grounds will be open to visitors from 8.30 am onwards.
As always the national event boasts new attractions and this year the Hunt Chase National Finals, previously part of the RDS Dublin Horse Show programme, will take place at Blueball.
“The Garda Band will also be back and will perform on the main stage from 1pm onwards,” outlined Freda Kinnarney.
“The programme has competitions as it core element which includes the crème de la crème of Irish livestock,’ said Show PRO, Christy Maye.
He added:” It provides an opportunity for an authentic cultural experience, where the atmosphere and networking is unique.”
Entries are at a record high with the commercial cattle entries up 20 per cent this year, outlined Mr Maye.
”All the 700 trade stands are booked out and it looks like it will be the best ever show,” he predicted.
On the show site, the tented village and pavilions cover an area of 400,000sq.ft. and a massive 20,000 free car parking spaces are also provided.
A full Garda traffic plan will be in operation which will ensure free movement of all vehicles on show day.
The prize fund totals €175,000 and organisers are grateful for the financial support of 360 sponsors in addition to the sponsors of the National Livestock Show, FBD Insurance.
Almost 6km of trackway has been laid on site to help the ease of movement on site for traders and visitors alike.
Outlined Christy Maye: “With 700 trade exhibitors and numerous sideshow providing something for nearly all interests, it can be truly described as the ultimate country lifestyle showcase.”
He added: ” The show boasts entertainment, artisan food stalls, cookery demonstrations, craft, fashion shows, rare breed animals, inventions, photography, farm skills, equestrian, dog show, great vintage machinery show, pet corner, live music with Declan Nerney & his band with many more supporting acts and kids area – something for all the family.”
While agriculture was originally the show’s main focus but this has broadened considerably over the years to adapt to Ireland’s changing culture, said the Show PRO.
“However,” he stressed “Tullamore Show still promotes an enhanced awareness and positive appreciation of our heritage, traditions and way of life.”
This year’s show promises to be the best on record with many new elements and features, emphasised the PRO.
The dairy section this year features four championship in the Jersey, Shorthorn and Holstein Friesian breeds. Young people will have the opportunity of competing in six showmanship classes, which should cater for all ages and interests.
The pedigree cattle section will have 200 classes, for no less than 13 breeds and it also hosts the National Shows for the Limousin, Charolais, Hereford and Simmental Societies.
The commercial cattle section will operate in two rings to facilitate the 28 classes, carrying a prize fund of almost €20,000.
The sheep section will have 14 breeds involved, in addition to the young handler competition. The classes for the Lleyn breed will feature as their All Ireland this year.
Alpacas will feature in the competitive element of the FBD National Livestock Show and there will also be displays of alpacas including demonstrations of shearing.
Pigs section will be fun central as it is planned to have pig agility show taking place throughout the day and spectators will be invited to compete with their friends. There also 10 competitive classes, five for traditional breeds and five for modern breeds. Champion and Reserve Champion from each section will compete for the Pig of the Year.
The horse section boasts a full line up of competitive breeds from Irish Draft, Connemara, Clydesdales, Working Hunters, Non-Thoroughbred Young Stock to Mare and Foal plus Miniature horses in hand. A special interest for the young is the pony section.
In total there will be over 1,000 exhibitor competitions for the massive prize fund of €175,000.
Said Christy Maye; “We advise you to come early and have a full day at the show with six catering villages, restaurants, bands, a pub and the big screen for all the matches together with children’s entertainment all day.”
The show grounds are open from 8.30am onwards.
See special 16 page supplement free with this week’s Tribune plus further coverage on pages 14 and 15 inside.