10 Things to Expect at the Ploughing Championships
It’s that time of year again. The National Ploughing Championships is gearing up for another three days of farming fun, in the scenic surrounds of Screggan in Tullamore, Co. Offaly. From September 18th – 20th, the event (now in its 87th year) is expected to attract over 290,000 visitors from all around the country. There’ll be plenty there to entertain the masses, from food and music to guest appearances and of course, the ploughing itself. Whether or not you’ve an interest in agriculture, this is a fantastic few days the whole family will enjoy. Here are ten things to look out for…
An incredible 1,700 Irish exhibitors will be showcasing their wares at this year’s Championships. Among many others, there’ll be farm machinery suppliers, sports equipment companies, renewable energy initiatives, as well as a whole host of business and retailers selling everything from finely crafted jewellery to handmade hurls. You’ll easily while away a couple of hours chatting to friendly vendors and picking up souvenirs.
2. Machine of the Year
The prestigious ‘Machine of the Year’ award is up for grabs once again, with last year’s prize going to the Valtra N174 tractor. The competition is open to any machine launched / manufactured since the 2017 Championships, and all entries must have a practical use in agriculture, and be exhibited at this year’s event.
Next up, the main event! In 1913, two men partook in Ireland’s first plough-off, and now, the event has grown into a massive – and very entertaining – affair. Over the three days, ploughing experts from all around the world will seek to impress judges with their straight furrows – definitely a spectacle worth checking out.
4. Food Fair
All that exploration will surely work up an appetite. Luckily, there’s an entire Food Fair on site, where guests can sample a whole selection of delicious delights. You’ll really get to understand the breadth of Ireland’s impressive culinary scene as you peruse stalls; there’ll be artisan producers offering up cheeses, meats and jams, locally brewed beers, and all manner of handmade sweet treats.
5. Farm Animals
Animal lovers of all ages will be delighted to hear there’ll be around 1,000 of our four-legged friends at the event. From livestock demos and pony games to the annual sheep-shearing competition, there really is something for everyone.
6. Mary Berry
Foodies rejoice: the Championships’ guest star this year is Mary Berry, of Great British Bake-Off fame. On Wednesday September 18, the iconic 83-year-old will judge a special cooking competition. Over the last few weeks, entrants were invited to send in recipes, sweet or savoury, that could be served at Afternoon Tea. Three finalists will whip up their creations live on the day, with Mary selecting the lucky winner.
7. Brown Bread Baking Competition
That’s not the only culinary competition taking place at the event. Having been whittled down to eight over a series of national contests, a group of culinary wizards will vie for the title of ‘Best Brown Bread Baker’ by producing a tasty loaf, live at the Championships.
8. Music & Dance
A host of acts will provide musical entertainment from the Championships’ main stage, so have those dancing shoes ready! You’ll also spot radio stations from around the country broadcasting live at the event.
9. Shed Talks
The AIB Shed Talks also make a welcome return to the event. This series of informative discussions with industry experts and thought-leaders will cover all manner of agri-related themes and issues. Last year’s topics included ‘Agri-Market Outlook’, ‘Work-Life Balance’ and ‘Maximising Efficiencies’, and 2018’s talks promise to be just as engaging.
10. Kids’ Entertainment
Bringing the family along? There’ll be plenty of fun activities for them to enjoy – from a bespoke kids’ zone for little ones to a thrilling funfair for older children. What’s more, kids under 12 go free once accompanied by an adult.
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