Royal Highland Show
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The Royal Highland Show is Scotland's annual farming and countryside showcase. The show is organised by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland.
Held annually at the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston, over the second-last weekend in June (Thursday - Sunday), the event attracts over 1,000 exhibitors, 4,500 head of livestock, and between 160,000 and 185,000 visitors. It is the premier fixture in Scotland's farming calendar and generates over £200 million in business. Exhibitors compete for the prestige of winning not only a prize ticket, but also for prize money and trophies worth over £1 million.
The show first started in 1822, and between that time and 1959 the show moved around the towns and cities of Scotland. In 1960 the Ingliston site become the permanent home of the show, opening on the 21st June 1960. The move to a perment location has helped the show develop beyond its original remit, to become a celebration of Scottish food, countryside and its farming.
Originally the show operated Sunday to Wednesday, but this was later changed to Thursday to Sunday, with Livestock competitions being held on the Thursday and Friday.
During the 1948 show held at Inverness, the Royal title was bestowed on the event by King George VI.
There was no show during 2001 because of the foot and mouth crisis.
Livestock exhibited include sheep, cattle, goats, horses, ponies, donkeys, and poultry
One of the sights of the show is Heavy Horse Turnouts and for the first time ever, in 2006 Ingliston saw the attendance of all UK heavy horse breeds. Clydesdales, Shires, Percherons and — first time visitors to Scotland — two teams of Suffolk Punches travelling from Norfolk and Suffolk.
The show's most prestigious livestock honour, the Queen's Cup, rotates between the champions of the various types of livestock — in 2006 it was awarded to the best animal in the 162 strong goat section.
The Royal Highland Show is a showcase for Rural and Agricultural products and produce. There are large exhibits of agricultural machinery and supplies, equine supplies and outdoor sporting goods. A wide variety of rural, agricultural and environmental associations set up stall to promote themselves.
The Highland Showground's exhibition halls provide indoor spaces for a shopping arena and a food and drink arena. Both areas are dominated by Scottish producers, but there is a significant presence from other parts of the United Kingdom and form further afield; for instance European wine makers, German salami makers etc. The food and drink arena offers considerable opportunity for taste-testing and has a demonstration kitchen offering visitors suggestions on home to prepare and serve the products on offer. The shopping areas are extended into the main showground by market-style stalls. Other businesses, including banks, supermarkets and food producers have their own arenas to promote their commitment to farming, food production and agriculture.
Outside of the exhibition halls and livestock rings, there are a wide range of competitive and display events, including international sheep shearing, show jumping, driving, tug-of-war, dog obedience trials, falconry, farriery and other rural pursuits.
The RHS's two bandstands played host to fifteen different bands and musical groups, including the Band of HM Royal Marines and numerous bands of Pipes and Drums. Annually the Show plays host to over 50 different bands and musical groups, including school and rock bands.
Along with attracting 165,000 - 180,000 visitors annually, The Royal Highland Show has a history of attracting VIP visitors. Some more prominent names include:
- Her Majesty The Queen attended in 1960 for the Official opening of the new Ingliston site and again in 1984 for its 25th anniversary
- Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester attended in 2006
- Mariann Fischer-Boel, one of the most powerful women in Europe, European Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer-Boel
- "UK | Scotland | Edinburgh and East | 167th Royal Highland Show opens". BBC News. 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2012-02-13.
- Robust show... despite the conditions