Carol Ruttle and Robyn O'Neill with Orea the minature pony looking forward to Newcastle West Show
OTHER shows may have succumbed but the Newcastle West Agricultural Show continues to thrive, flying the flag for its own, distinctive blend of community and rural matters, of family fun and all things agricultural.
And happily, it has, so far, avoided having to fork out thousands of euro for an event licence and instead relies on its own traffic management plan.
But the organisers, led by chairman Peter Leonard, are hoping that Sunday’s show will bring out big crowds.
“We are still an agricultural show promoting rural Limerick but it is also a family day out,” Mr Leonard said, as he and the committee tied down the last details this week.
This year promises to be a very full-on show with 68 pony classes, 17 championship events, 16 jumping classes and 12 horse classes, adding up to a lot of entries.. One of the biggest attractions is again expected to be the HSI Sport Horse Foal Championship qualifier, which carries its own purse of €3000 and is the only qualifier in Munster for the national final where prize money of €10,000 will be on offer.
Last year, after a gap of a few years, cattle classes were re-introduced and there is great delight among both organisers and farmers that this year’s show will host 26 cattle classes. “Dairy and cattle are important for the show because if you look at the townlands of Newcastle West it is cattle and dairy country,” Mr Leonard said.
On top of that, the organisers are also accepting entries for various sheep and goat classes as well as for hens and eggs. And the dog show this year is expected to attract large entries for the 11 different classes as well as a Show Champion competition.
A more recent addition to the show is the National Donkey Derby, with entries expected from all over Limerick and Ireland competing for the national title, and the €2,000 prize money.
The competitions for miniature ponies is expected to be a big draw for families, but there will be plenty more to amuse and to entertain.
This year too there will be a carnival in place along with a play area for smaller children.
And there will be competitions for young and not so young too at the Best Dressed Bonny Baby contest, the children’s fancy dress, glamorous granny as well as competitions for the Best Dressed Lady, the Most Appropriately Dressed Gentleman and a Glamorous Granny contest.
Gates open at 9am and judging will begin at 10.30 continuing right throughout the afternoon until about 6pm when the show winds down. Admission is €10 for adults but children and senior citizens go free.