The Eikon Exhibition Centre hosted the Balmoral Show 2021 last week (22-25 September), which was the first large-scale exhibition to take place in Northern Ireland since the initial lockdown in March 2020.
The event is run by the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS), and usually takes place annually in May, however, the organisers decided this year to postpone the event until September, to facilitate the vaccination roll-out.
The Balmoral Show scales the full 263,000sqm site and uses all 10,600sqm of the Eikon’s indoor space, with over 100 additional indoor spaces created through the erection of temporary structures.
Theresa Morrissey, commercial director, said: “It was heartening to see so many people enjoy a day out at the venue, and proved that people were eager to get out and about again. Visitor numbers increased significantly as the Show progressed and we can confirm that overall attendance was in line with projections for the encapsulated event which was similar in activity to two-thirds of the usual May event.”
Morrissey added: “This complied with the Covid-19 Risk Assessment. However, it’s not just the ticket sales that have contributed to the Show’s success, the support of the trade stands, livestock exhibitors, contractors, and all show officials and stakeholders enabled the RUAS to successfully put on Northern Irelands largest agri-food event.”
Shona Ayre, sales and business development executive said: “The successful delivery of the Balmoral Show has boosted the public’s confidence in attending large scale events post-lockdown, and has furthermore increased the confidence of both exhibitors and stakeholders alike. It has been encouraging to Northern Ireland’s events industry and whilst we have been grateful to have been able to utilise our outdoor space for events as restrictions allowed, we hope that this is the beginning of the return of large-scale indoor events as the winter months roll in.”