Top agricultural show in award-winning form ahead of 2012 event

THE Royal Highland Show and its organisers the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland are well accustomed to handing out awards to prize-winning livestock, food and drink products and innovative farm equipment.

But as the 2012 event approaches, the show itself has been on the receiving end.

It was voted the best agricultural show in the UK by readers of a national farming magazine and in March it won a second top award - the Best Event in Scotland.

The latter was awarded by the National Outdoor Event Association, the trade organisation which was established in 1979 to represent and promote the outdoor events industry.

The award was picked up at the NOEA annual convention in Birmingham by show manager David Dunsmuir who commented: “It is an honour to be recognised by our peers and demonstrates that we are major players in the event industry.

“With the award coming only a few weeks after the magazine award, 2012 has got off to a great start for the show.

“We are planning to build on these two successes and ensure that this year’s Royal Highland is once again one of the best events in Scotland.”

Visitor numbers in recent years indicate that David Dunsmuir and his show management team have already earned a resounding endorsement from the farming and general public.

The last two attendances have broken through the 180,000 mark, with a record in 2010 of 187,644.

In comparison with all other public events in Scotland, that is mightily impressive.

Although he is reluctant to forecast figures and go after even more records, David is quietly confident about 2012, but far from complacent.

“We realise we are competing for a share of the public’s hard-earned cash and we need to offer value for money,” he said.

“With competitively priced tickets and no more charges once you are inside the show-ground, we feel we offer excellent value for a full day’s interest and entertainment.

“The task for our team is to lay on an event that has enough serious agricultural content to hold the interest of the farming community and agri-business trade but to lay on plenty of other attractions to keep the crowds entertained.

“It is part of our charitable remit to promote the industry and that’s why we put so much emphasis on our livestock and machinery displays and our educational features, particularly for youngsters.

“But included in the balancing act is a vast array of countryside activity, shopping, music and sporting action.”

One of the highlights of 2012 will be the President’s Initiative from Dumfries & Galloway, the region where the show would have been staged had it still been touring the country.

“Naturally Inspiring” is the theme to encourage visitors to explore the sights, the flavours and the experiences to be had in Scotland’s South West.

For the record, the now official Best Event in Scotland – major sponsor The Royal Bank of Scotland - takes place at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh from Thursday, June 21 to Sunday, June 24.