Royal Welsh Winter Fair

Tuesday 29 November 2011, 10:00

Rachael Garside Rachael Garside

This is the 23rd Welsh Winter Fair which originally began as a one-day event but has grown steadily into two days of competing, and is steadily staking its place as one of Europe's main prime stock shows.

There's a great festive atmosphere here with Christmas trees and decorations on every corner.

It's hard to believe but there was snow on the ground and severe weather warnings this time last year which threatened to disrupt proceedings - but by comparison it's been positively balmy in Builth today.

Things have also been hotting up in the main showrings, ahead of today's championships.The greatest number of entries has been in the horse section this year with more than 600 horses competing.

328 pairs of sheep are competing and show organisers are thrilled that the number of entries in the pig section is at its highest since 2008.

The standard of stock here is tremendous and I've been speaking to Jonathan Maycock who had the hard task of judging the heifers in the cattle ring this morning.

As an Englishman and a butcher (from Derbyshire) Jonathan admitted that there is something truly special about this event.

Brand new for this year was a dressed poultry competition being judged by Rob Rattray, the butcher from Aberystwyth who judged last year's Supreme Championship in the cattle ring.

The Food Hall has been busy all day with 42 exhibitors launching new products, such as organic Welsh dressings and sauces and promoting old favourites like Welsh cheeses and meat.

The floral display pavilion was a hive of activity as I passed by, with competitors working well into the night on their displays under the theme of 'Rejoice'.

Two awards were presented at the show on Monday, firstly the John Gittings Award for an outstanding contribution to the sheep industry in Wales - won by Alwyn Phillips of Pen y Gelli, Caernarvon and the title of Welsh Woman Farmer of the Year has been awarded to Mari Evans, Erwfaethlon, Tywyn.

All eyes now turn to the main championships on Tuesday and the live auction of the winning livestock.


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