The 21st Tullamore Show since its revival in 1991 will include improved features both online and on-site it was revealed by Show Chairman George Gill at a special sponsors' night event in the Bridge House Hotel on Wednesday.
All the usual classes will feature at the show, including the successful recent addition of a meat village and an inventions section that's growing year on year. However Mr Gill said online show entry facilities will be much better this year. There are also year on year improvements planned for the show site itself, which is situated just outside Tullamore on the Butterfield Estate.
Increased trackway at this year's event on August 12, including in show car parks, will make for easier access throughout the show grounds. Meanwhile an additional car park is also planned for this year's show, for visitors coming from a westerly direction.
Last Wednesday night Tullamore Show organisers expressed their thanks to loyal and indeed vital show sponsors, with a drinks reception followed by dinner at the Bridge House Hotel. MC for the night Niall Sweeney said show organisers are particularly appreciative of sponsorship in these disappointing economic times. "Tonight is our way of saying 'Thank you'," he said.
Mr Gill described show sponsorship as a two way street, with benefits for sponsors as well as Tullamore Show. To this end he said it's hoped sponsors can be given online coverage this year as well as the other usual sponsorship exposure benefits. Sponsors on the night appeared to a man to be happy to be on board, with one sponsor saying: "If the country was run like Tullamore Show we'd be in no bother!".
Attendance, entry and prize money figures have all been on the increase at Tullamore Show for the past number of years. Last year saw record show entries, 650 stands and 60,000 visitors. Sponsors this year were advised to book trade stands early, with a deadline of July 5 in place.
Regional Director with AIB Eddie Buckley spoke on behalf of all sponsors on the night. This year marks AIB's tenth year of association with Tullamore Show and organisers have just signed a further three year deal with the bank.
Mr Buckley described the show as vital for local businesses and the ultimate family experience, and gave recognition to the forward thinking individuals who took the decision to revive Tullamore Show back in 1991.
Guest speaker on the night was former Irish Times' journalist Seán MacConnell, the first national journalist who covered Tullamore Show as a media event and who once actually performed the show's official opening.
"It's been one of the highlights of my career," Mr MacConnell admitted to those gathered. The former agricultural journalist, who retired in January, also admitted first covering the show to please the Tullamore born editor of the Irish Times at the time, Conor Brady.
"I knew it would please Conor if I gave the revival of the show a blast," he said. "So I did, and it did."
On the night Mr MacConnell was presented with a bog oak clock as a token of appreciation.
A token was also presented to AIB's Anne Finnegan, in advance of her upcoming nuptials on July 7.