Northern Ireland

More than 100,000 people expected to attend Balmoral Show

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Media captionDay one of the Balmoral Show

The Balmoral Show has begun with the first of four days of events to showcase food and farming in Northern Ireland.

As well as a range of livestock classes, the event hosts hundreds of trade stands displaying everything from crafts to machinery.

It is the 150th anniversary of the show and more than 100,000 people are expected to attend.

The Princess Royal made a special appearance earlier.

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Image caption Princess Anne was a special guest at the Balmoral Show on Wednesday
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Media captionThe Balmoral Show is in its 150th year

Visitors have been urged to use public transport where possible, with full details available on the Translink website.

Police have advised motorists to take care and leave extra time for journeys.

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Image caption There is a variety of machinery on display at the show

Balmoral Show Operations Director, Rhonda Geary, described some of the attractions that were available at the event on its 150th anniversary.

"We try and improve the show year on year," she said.

"We have added another 10,000 sq m of exhibition space this year, that was to include additional machinery who wanted to exhibit with us.

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Image caption There is always time for a nibble at the event

"We also have our 150th anniversary marquee which people can walk through.

"There are families still exhibiting today who had ancestors at the first shows."

'Find my car' feature

The Balmoral Show started in 1854 with the formation of the North East Agricultural Association of Ireland.

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Media captionBarra Best has the lowdown on whether you will see sundown at the agricultural extravaganza

The first shows were held at Belfast Corporation Markets from 1855 to 1895.

The Balmoral showgrounds in south Belfast were bought in 1854 and the event was held there from 1856 - apart from a break during the Second World War - until 2013 when it moved to its present site at the Maze, on the outskirts of Lisburn.

Image caption Three generations of the Baxter family from Newtownstewart who were winners with Beauty Hill Ferrari

There will be an anniversary display at this year's event, with photographs dating back through the decades and historical artefacts on display.

There are 650 trade stands at this year's show and a larger than usual plant machinery section.

Image caption Large crowds enjoyed the 1947 show, the first after World War Two

Gates opened at 09:30. There is also an app available for visitors to the show, which includes a "Find My Car" feature - sure to be a godsend come home-time.

Police are warning people to park responsibly and only in the designated car parks.

"Public safety is of paramount importance to us so anyone parked illegally could get a fixed penalty notice for ignoring the parking restriction," said Lisburn and Castlereagh PSNI district commander Supt Sean Wright.

"These restrictions will be obvious so please do not ignore them."