After its postponement last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) Winter Fair returns on Thursday 9 December to the Eikon Exhibition Centre at Balmoral Park, outside Lisburn, Co Antrim.
Organised in association with sponsor, Danske Bank, the Winter Fair is now in its 35th year.
While it is primarily a dairy event, a wide range of around 200 trade stands mean there is plenty there for all livestock farmers.
In the show ring, there are classes across the four main dairy breeds: Holstein, Ayrshire, Jersey and Dairy Shorthorn, with South Yorkshire pedigree Holstein and Jersey breeder Edward Griffiths taking control of the cattle classes.
This year’s Winter Fair comes less than three months after the Balmoral Show was held in mid-September
Griffiths operates under the Coachgate prefix, and has judged at a number of major events, including the Baileys All-Ireland championship at the Virginia Show in 2015.
This year’s Winter Fair comes less than three months after the Balmoral Show was held in mid-September, so it is a quick turnaround for some breeders, and the RUAS in particular.
But unlike the Balmoral Show, which was largely an outdoor event, the Winter Fair will be held inside, utilising both the Eikon Centre and the adjoining Logan Hall.
As a result, visitors will be required to wear face masks when inside, and there will be multiple hand-sanitising stations available.
To gain entry, visitors (including children aged 11 years and over) will be asked to demonstrate their COVID-19 status by providing one of the following:
Visitors from the Republic of Ireland can use their EU digital COVID-19 certificate to gain entry.
Tickets can be purchased online at winterfair.org.uk and cost £10 for adults and £8 for over 65s and those aged 12 to 18. Under 12s can enter for free when accompanied by an adult.
It will also be possible to gain admission on the day of the event.
There is ample parking at the site and car parking is free.
The doors open at 9am and the event runs to 6pm. Judging of the cattle classes will get under way at 9am, and will close with the supreme championship scheduled for 4pm.
For those unable to attend, the RUAS will be livestreaming the competition from the show ring on its website and YouTube channel, and it will be posted directly to Facebook.