Sixty-six years strong for Bannow and Rathangan show

By Amy Lewis

Published 07/07/2015 | 00:00

Melissa Tighe, Rachel Murray and Courtney Doyle at last year's Bannow and Rathangan Show.
Melissa Tighe, Rachel Murray and Courtney Doyle at last year's Bannow and Rathangan Show.

The 66th Bannow and Rathangan Show takes place today, Thursday July 9.

This year's event features an array of new additions, which according to Betty Stafford, Chairperson of the show, have been attracting great attention.

'We extended our cattle section to include two new classes, Irish Moiled and Parthenaise,' she said. 'We have entrants coming in their droves for that.'

For those who are more into food than farming, the regional heat of the All Ireland Home Cook Competition is sure to tickle the tastebuds. This new addition, which will be judged by chef Adrian Martin, invites budding chefs to show off their culinary skills in a series of live cook offs. The theme of the contest is creativity with Irish ingredients. Adrian, who is the Ambassador for the Associated Craft butchers of Ireland, will select a range of ingredients from the Food Village and challenge participants to cook up a storm. The overall winner will receive a one week cooking course at the Ballymaloe Cookery School, along with being entered into the All Ireland Home Cook Final in Castleblaney on August 3.

Visitors can wash this down with some Wexford 1798 lager by Stafford Wholesale, which is a new sponsor of the show. The brewery, which also produces Wexford 1798 blonde, will be offering tasters of their newly launched beverages in the Food Village on the day.

Long-time visitors to the show can still expect to find their old favourites, including the dog show, showjumping, poultry marquee, craft stands and the highly-anticipated final of the Three Year Old All Ireland horse championship. The competition, which is part of the Horse Sport Ireland National Showing Series, has a €6000 prize fund. According to Betty, it is going to be a major event.

'This prize is highly sought-after,' she said. 'It is definitely going to be one of the highlights of the day.'

Organisers of the Bannow and Rathangan Show are hoping that their jam-packed programme attracts as large a crowd as last year, when almost 15,000 people attended. For Betty, the key to attracting the crowd is 'keeping it interesting' for people of all ages, including children. This year, young people are being encouraged to take part in the show through several competitions, including flower arranging, craft and cooking competitions.

'Even children under four can get involved with our contest for the best six Rice Crispie buns,' said Betty.

Children can also visit the ever-popular pet's corner, as well as The Courtyard, where Mr. Cool will host puppet shows.

Although organisers can promise an eventful day, they can't guarantee the good weather. Despite this, they are remaining hopeful.

'It looks like it is going to be a nice day,' said Betty. 'We are hoping that the weather suits us.'

If the sun does make an appearance on the day, the new picnic benches are sure to be a big winner. Visitors are invited to bring their own food along or sample the food available from one of the 40 stands in the Food Village.

According to Betty, they aim to improve on the show each year and, owing to help from volunteers and participants alike, she expects this year to be the best yet.

'We really have something for everyone,' she said. 'We are certainly at the crest of our wave.'

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