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Countdown to the Royal Welsh Show begins

14 Jun 2024 6 minute read
Image: Ruth Rees, Royal Welsh Agricultural Society

The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society held its Official Launch of the 2024 Royal Welsh Show at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth earlier this week.

With only 40 days to go before the Royal Welsh Show, (RWAS)board members, Ceredigion advisory committee members, key sponsors, media partners, industry representatives and supporters came together to hear about what’s in store for this year’s event.

Iconic event

The Royal Welsh Show takes place from Monday 22 July to Thursday 25 July at the iconic showground in Llanelwedd, Builth Wells. Widely recognised as one of the best agricultural shows in the world, the Show attracts over 200,000 visitors over four days to celebrate not only food and farming, but culture, diversity, the Welsh language, passion and a love for the land.

To kick off the evening’s proceedings, RWAS Chair of Council, Nicola Davies welcomed and thanked attendees for coming along to the National Library of Wales.

“This is only the second time we’ve held an official launch for the Show. Last year we were in the Senedd in Cardiff, but we have travelled from the city to the country and the beauty of Mid Wales to the land of the Cardis.” said Nicola.

Royal Welsh Show. Image: Robin Drayton

The Society has always been proud of its heritage and with this year being a major milestone in its history – the 120th anniversary since its formation – it felt right to bring the launch to Aberystwyth, the site of the very first show which was held in 1904.

“Where better for a Cardi to celebrate such a milestone than the place where our story started?” said Nicola. “And we are most grateful to the National Library of Wales for assisting us as we tell our story.”

Unique structure

The objective of the Royal Welsh Show was originally to roam the length and breadth of Wales, traveling from north to south in turn.

As it became necessary to have a permanent location, Llanelwedd in Mid Wales was decided upon, and the Show was first held at the Royal Welsh Showground in 1963.

Thanks to the unique structure of the feature county system, each county retains ownership of the Society, and this year Ceredigion takes the lead.

 

During the launch, attendees heard from National Library of Wales Archivist, Rhys Davies, a farmer’s son from Ceredigion, who said a few words about the artefacts on display and the history of local agricultural societies in Ceredigion.

As well as the launch of the show, the day also marked the opening of a new exhibition at the Library – “Tipyn o Sioe”, a collection of photographs that portray how both the show and agriculture have evolved over the decades. The exhibition will be open throughout the summer and features the work of documentary photographers, Geoff Charles and Arvid-Parry-Jones.

“We are extremely lucky to have institutions such as the National Library of Wales that are custodians of our history,” said Nicola.

Dr Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, Chief Executive of the National Library of Wales, said: “The Royal Welsh Show is one of Wales’ most important events, giving our agricultural excellence an international platform.

“Thank you to the Society for choosing to announce this year’s Show with us and it is our pleasure to curate this exhibition of photographs from our collection which documents the history of the Show over the years. We look forward to welcoming people from far and wide to see them.”

Each year, one of the 12 traditional counties of Wales takes their turn to sponsor the Show and this year it’s Ceredigion’s turn with Denley Jenkins of Pantyrodyn Farm as the President. Denley was next to take to the stage, and commented on what a huge personal honour it is to be President.

Denley lives and works on the 240-acre beef and sheep farm near Newcastle Emlyn and has been exhibiting cattle since the early 1980s at many local and national shows. Denley first joined the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society in 1981 and has played an active role ever since.

New attractions

Next, Show Director, Richard Price highlighted some of the new attractions in store this year, including the return of the horticulture section.

“We will be launching our new Horticultural Village which will be a celebration of community and commercial growing,” said Richard.

“It will boast two competition marquees, one for fruit and veg and one for floral art, a new skills and learning hub called Dysgubor, a sensory garden, micro show gardens, commercial stands and a food and drink court.”

The new Horticultural Village will be opened by Sue Kent – a highly respected gardening specialist, best known for becoming an award-winning television presenter on BBC Gardener’s World.

Along with horticulture, we are also delighted to see the return of the poultry section this year.

Chickens

“The situation with Avian Flu has improved and restrictions have lifted to allow us to stage the poultry show once again. There hasn’t been a poultry show at the Royal Welsh since 2019 and we are all excited to see its eagerly awaited return in the Fur & Feather Pavilion.

We’re pleased with a strong entry across all livestock sections, with almost 7,000 animals being exhibited over the 4 days. Equine entries are up on last year, with several new equine classes being introduced.

Main ring

To mark the Society’s 120th anniversary and celebrate the feature county of Ceredigion, a new main ring display has been commissioned. The display will include a larger than life-size puppet of a Ceredigion farmer with animals, performers and singers. A unique display, not to be missed!”

Also performing in the main ring will be a Heavy Horse Display, a breathtaking performance as the horses move around the ring choreographed to music, and the much-loved JCB Dancing Diggers, returning for the first time since 2010.

Richard Price finished by introducing the 2024 promotional video for the Royal Welsh Show to give the audience a taste of what’s to come. Finally, the Chair of the Board of Directors, Professor Wynne Jones shared his grateful thanks to the National Library of Wales for hosting the launch event, and to all for coming along to celebrate the countdown to the Royal Welsh Show.

The launch was also an opportunity to reveal the 2024 Royal Welsh Show Poster, beautifully designed by Ken Rees, an artist local to Llanelwedd and from a farming family. The limited-edition poster will be available to purchase from the Show Shop during the Royal Welsh Show next month.

The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society would like to thank the main sponsor of the event, Mr Alun Griffiths of Mainunit Ltd. The Society also thanks Cymen Translation Services who kindly provided the simultaneous translation equipment for the evening.

With just over five weeks to go until the Royal Welsh Show, you can find more information about what’s in store, and buy tickets at the RWAS website.


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Richard 1
Richard 1
1 month ago

In what sense is the show “iconic”? Well established yes; famous yes. Beyond that, we’re just looking at a meaningless adjective.

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