The Royal Ulster Winter Fair is set to move to the Maze, on the outskirts of Lisburn, according to Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) Chief Executive Colin McDonald.
“The decision has been taken to move the King’s Hall Pavilions, the current home of the Winter Fair, to Balmoral Park during August 2015,” he said.
“Balmoral Park is the new home of the society. All of this is dependent on us securing full planning permission and reaching agreement with the Maze Long Kesh Development Corporation, the organisation with full management responsibility for the overall site that is now available to us.
“Once we move the Winter Fair to the new venue, it will be feasible to significantly increase its scope. Parking and dealing with commuter traffic, which are major challenges for us at Balmoral, will become less of an issue for both exhibitors and visitors once we move the Winter Fair out of Belfast.”
Despite the envisaged move to the Maze, Colin McDonald is still ruling out the possibility of adding a second day on to the Winter Fair set up.
“This is not an option at the present time,” he said.
“However, the Winter Fair will remain a landmark event for the dairy industry. Market prices within the dairy sector will come under pressure during the first half of 2015. However, I have always been impressed by the resilience of milk producers.
"Many made it clear to me this year’s event that they view the long term prospects for milk as being extremely positive and are prepared to invest accordingly.”
The Winter Fair has been hosted on the Balmoral site in South Belfast since its inception back in 1985.