To celebrate The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society’s 25th Winter Fair, they have complied a list of 25 facts that you may not have know about the event. The event will take place on the 1st and 2nd of December.
1. The Winter Fair was initially only going to run as a trial event for three years, to see if it would be viable. However it has been a resounding success from year one and the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society hasn’t looked back since 1990.
2. For the first 12 years the fair was a modest one-day event. It was only after the successful introduction of horses and hounds to the event in 2001 (the year of the foot and mouth outbreak) that led to the fair being staged over two days in subsequent years to accommodate the additional classes and competitions.
3. This year the society is honoured to welcome HRH The Princess Royal to the fair on Tuesday 2 December. This will be The Princess Royal’s fifth visit to the showground, but her first time attending the Winter Fair. Our royal connections go back to 1907 when, three years after the foundation of the society, King George V became patron, followed by King George VI in 1936. The Queen took over the role in 1952 and remains the patron to this day.
4. Originally the event was held purely in the South Glamorgan Hall. It now takes up the majority of the showground with tradestands, a farmers market, the food hall, competitions, classes demonstrations and exhibitions galore.
5. The very first winner of the Supreme Championship back in 1990 was a 19-month old steer named Lucky Lad. Weighing in at 645kg, who was sold for £7,500, approximately £16,000 in today’s money! Last years champion was sold for £6,600.
6. During his visit in 2001, HRH The Prince of Wales entered the ring and made the final judging decision in the Supreme Welsh Foal Championship and signed the judges book to confirm his choice. The lucky winner was a section B filly named Sianwood Bayleaf, owned by Anne and John James.
7. 1,250 plus livestock entries make the Royal Welsh Winter Fair the finest prime stock event in the UK, if not Europe and last year a record crowd of nearly 29,500 visitors came along to the two-day event.
8. The popular food hall at the winter fair attracts producers from all over Wales and further afield and is packed full with culinary delights, demonstrations, perfect Christmas gifts and tempting tasters. This year the BASC will be running game cookery demonstrations in our demonstration kitchen.
9. An extended layout to the Winter Fair has provided more room for over 300 trade stands. This means there is even more on offer to the eager Christmas shoppers with a huge range of gifts for people from all walks of life.
10. For the first time, to celebrate the silver jubilee, the Winter Fair will this year have a late night Christmas shopping evening on Monday 1 December, with free entry into the showground from 4pm.
11. As with the other Royal Welsh Agricultural Society events, parking at the Winter Fair is FREE.
12. The loyalty of our exhibitors is legendary. The winner of last year’s lamb carcass pairs competition, Mr R J Slade also won the lamb carcass competition in the very first Winter Fair back in 1990.
13. To mark the events 25th anniversary the Winter Fair is celebrating in style with a free magnificent silver jubilee-themed firework display on Monday 1 December at 7pm. A spectacle not to be missed.
14. The Winter Fair director, Mr Will Hanks in not the first in his family to be an integral part of the event. Will took over the position in 2011 from his father, Mr Derick Hanks.
15. In 2001, the year of the foot and mouth outbreak, the majority of agricultural shows, fairs and other gatherings across the UK were cancelled, including our own Royal Welsh Show that summer. The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society took the brave decision to carry on regardless, despite the fact there would be no live cloven-hoofed livestock at the event. The response from farmers, the rural community and the agricultural industry was incredible, with a record crowd flocking to the event and a visit from HRH The Prince of Wales. In a happy coincidence, the fair was held on the same day Wales was declared foot and mouth free.
16. It’s far more than just a prime stock show. The Winter Fair hosts a huge variety of different classes and competitions, including Welsh pony and cob classes, a national Welsh poultry show, the NSA hound show, dressed poultry and meat products competitions, cookery, produce and handicraft classes, horticulture and floral art, ice-cream, cheese, beer and cider competitions… there is something for everyone to get involved in.
17. Many local school and community choirs are invited to attend the Winter Fair and entertain the visitors to the event with their beautiful renditions of Christmas carols and festive songs.
18. Did you know that Father Christmas is a regular visitor to the Winter Fair? He can be found, with his elves, in Tŷ Ynys Môn where he is happy to meet the younger visitors to the fair. They might even be given an early Christmas present – if they’ve been good!
19. Each year the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society hold a Christmas card competition. Although judged prior to and announced at the Royal Welsh Show in July, the winning card is unveiled and ready to purchase at the Winter Fair, where the young winner is presented with their prize. This year’s winner is Aaliyah James, a pupil at Mount Street Junior School, Brecon.
20. At the Winter Fair in 2010 Llanelwedd registered as one of the coldest places in the UK with a temperature of -18oC.
21. If you’re not lucky enough to be able to come along to the Winter Fair in person, you can catch all the action from the event on S4C from 10am – 4pm each day (1 and 2 December) or by tuning into BBC Radio Cymru.
22. If you are a member of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society you are entitled to discounted Winter Fair tickets. See www.rwas.co.uk for more details.
23. One of the main sponsors of the Royal Welsh Winter Fair is HSBC. Originally Midland Bank, HSBC have been sponsoring the event since its inception 25 years ago. In recognition of their continued loyalty and support, this year’s 25th event will be officially opened by Roy Davies, Roderick Williams and Allan Wilkinson of HSBC.
24. The Royal Welsh Winter Fair takes 12 months to organise. We have approximately 250 steward roles, the vast majority of which are fulfilled by our volunteers who give the society their time, commitment and loyalty and undoubtedly contribute the event’s success. We could not do it without them.
25. To celebrate the 25 anniversary of the Royal Welsh Winter Fair we have commissioned a limited, special edition gentleman’s tie and women’s scarf which will be available to purchase from the show shop during the two-day event or online.
For more information, please visit their website