30 November 2001

Optimism, despite F&M

There wont be any livestock at this years Welsh Winter Fair on Dec 4.

But despite that the event is set to be a success, explains Bob Davies

MANY sceptics forecast that a Welsh Winter Fair without cloven-hoofed animals would be a disaster, but next Tuesdays event is a financial success before the gates open.

The number of people likely to attend was boosted when the Prince of Wales accepted an invitation to open the Fair, but long before that commercial companies had decided the show-starved public would roll in, and provide a shop window denied them since Feb.

The number of trade stands is up by 50% to 268, including dairy equipment companies that normally give the event a miss. The main sponsor, the HSBC Bank, and many others have kept faith with the fair, and in many cases have increased their contributions.

"The response has been staggering," said society secretary Peter Guthrie. "By the time we open, the entire staging cost should be underwritten and I am confident that we will get many more than the 8800 visitors who came last year."

The revamped show includes seminars, horses, an antiques fair, a fashion show, and a much-expanded food hall, as well as a hunting hound competition, which should attract many new people through the turnstiles.

"An amazing 34 hunt packs have entered over 1000 dogs and many followers will turn up on the day. A total of 378 horses will be on show and this will pull in many people for the first time.

"I believe we are staging a cracking event with something for everybody at the end of a miserable year."

SHOW DETAILS

When: Tuesday December 4

Where: The Royal Welsh Agricultural Societys showground at Builth Wells in Powys, which is at the junction of the A470 and A483.

Cost: Parking is free, and entry costs £7 for adults, £6 for over 60s and £2 for children aged 4 to 16.

Times: The gates open at 8.30am, but judging of horticultural exhibits starts at 8am. Carcasses are judged from 9am and entries will be auctioned from 2pm. Focus for the Future seminars take place at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 2.30pm.

Something for all: The event includes a self-contained poultry show, an antiques fair, competitions for hunting dogs, a food exhibition and market and crafts for Christmas. The Wales Federation of Young Farmers Clubs will stage a series of competitions, including ATV handling.