MAY 22, 2008: More than 23,000 visitors attended the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society’s Smallholder and Garden Festival at the weekend, confirming the huge popularity of the event.

This was the eighth Festival to be staged by the RWAS at Llandelwedd, Builth Wells.“We have had numerous positive comments from visitors who praised the organisation of the Festival and the variety of attractions on show,” said RWAS Company Secretary, Barrie Jones.  “The Festival ran smoothly, was enjoyed by everyone and was again highly successful.”The Festival included classes for livestock, a Green Horizons exhibition, a vintage machinery display, a dog show with over 1,000 entries, and a Celtic dance festival.  Displays in the Floral Hall together with a wide range of garden, agricultural, food and craft stands and a full programme of family entertainment, made up the winning formula of the event.  Visitors could also listen in to lectures and participate in question and answer sessions on a variety of smallholding, horticultural, environmental and countryside issues.CS columnist Tim Tyne attracted much interest with his presentation on Practical Shepherding Skills, and copies of the magazine were snapped up after the talk.An inventions competition introduced last year to test the ingenuity of smallholders in designing a piece of practical equipment for use on the farm was won by James Healey of Gwenddwr, Builth Wells, for his “woolly warmer”, a device for keeping newborn or weak lambs warm.  Another new initiative, the Smallholder Pentathlon competition in which entrants had to demonstrate their abilities at five different tasks including driving an All Terrain Vehicle and completing a number of countryside skills, was won by James Healey’s father, Robert Healey, also of Gwenddwr, Builth Wells.The prize for the best sheep breed trade stand went to the Jacob Sheep Society and the Welsh Black Cattle Society won the competition for the best promotional stand open to native breeds of cattle, as well as the cow and calf/maiden heifer competitions.In the competitive trade stand section in the Floral Hall the champion Best in Show and Large Gold Medal Diploma was won by Rebekah’s Old Fashion/Unusual Veg Seed display of Nelson, Lancashire, with P & J Plants of Madley, Herefordshire, standing reserve.  A Gold Medal Diploma for competitive gardens was won by Neath Port Talbot College.Next year’s Festival will be held on May 16 and 17.  Look out for further details on the society’s website –

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