ENNIS is set for a financial boost, with the arrival of a major livestock event to the Clare Co-operative Marts later this year, The Clare Champion can confirm. The Commercial Cattle Exhibitors Society’s winter fair will be held in the county capital in October, the first time the event has been held in the West of Ireland.
Organisers estimate that Ennis’ hosting of the winter fair on October 22 and 23 will bring in around €250,000 to the local economy. Around 1,000 people are expected to attend, with 200 exhibitors also taking part in the event, which will see farmers gaining access to a marketplace where some weanlings are likely to sell for in excess of €5,000.
This year will mark the 21st annual showcase, which regularly attracts both Irish beef producers and overseas visitors. Muireann Hannon, PRO for the Commercial Cattle Exhibitors Society, explained why Ennis was picked as the host venue for 2017.
“The society has chosen Clare, and particularly Ennis, as its new home due to the outstanding facilities on offer at Clare Co-operative Marts. We are extremely grateful to be working with such a fantastic team at Ennis Mart. County Clare is a stronghold of beef production and suckler farming and previous winter fairs have seen many exhibitors from Clare and surrounding counties. The society recognises that it has members and exhibitors from across the nation. Therefore, it is only fair that the showcase moves around the country to match these trends.”
Competitors from all over the country travel to the winter fair every year to win coveted classes and championships with some of Ireland’s finest livestock. This, in turn, attracts visitors and buyers from Wales, Scotland, England, Italy and other parts of the world.
There will be a huge emphasis on youth involvement at the winter fair.
“The Commercial Cattle Exhibitors Society acknowledges the importance in developing and nurturing this future talent, with a number of classes dedicated to the participation of young stock persons. It provides young exhibitors from across the country with an opportunity to show their abilities in the competitive arenas for prize money, trophies and national recognition,” said Muireann.
There will be an extensive trade stand area. Plans are underway to host beef breed demonstrations, educational and advisory exhibits and practical demonstrations of livestock. The society also hopes to extend these attractions with the introduction of a kids area, as well as an artisan food and craft fair.
Day two of the fair is sale day, where exporters, factories, butchers, breeders of elite show cattle and farmers alike have their chance to purchase Ireland’s top-quality stock. There is a social aspect to the event, with the annual dinner dance and awards ceremony taking place on the Sunday evening.
By Jessica Quinn