The Royal Welsh Show is the biggest agricultural show in Europe. It is organised by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, and takes place in July of each year, at Llanelwedd, near Builth Wells in mid-Wales.
The show lasts for four days and attracts more than 200,000 visitors annually, making it one of Wales's major tourist attractions.
- Judging of cattle, sheep, horses, goats and various other domestic animals
- Sheep dog trials
- Sheep shearing competitions
- Riding competitions
- Driving displays
- Games and sports
- Craft show
- Live music
Given its "Royal" status it is not unusual for a senior member of the Royal family to attend at the Show. A familiar sight is HRH the Prince of Wales who is acknowledged to be a keen supporter of the farming community. Indeed following his outspoken support during the 2001 foot and mouth crisis, many farmers regard him as an influential figure. One farming union, the FUW, nominated him for his outstanding contribution to agriculture in 2003 which was announced at the show.
Whilst being a successful exhibitor at any show is a success, victory at the Royal Welsh Show is regarded as particularly significant not only in Wales but throughout the United Kingdom. Exhibitors attend from throughout the country and the quality of competition is always high. Of particular prestige is the category of Supreme Champion in the cattle section. Success in this category attracts attention to the exhibitor and cattle breeders will be willing to pay more for the animal's progeny. Despite this financial incentive, the majority of exhibitors will claim they compete for the honour and the camaraderie.
Most major businesses with links to agriculture will have a trade stand at the show. Given the number of farming people at the venue it is regarded as a vital opportunity to attract new business as well as to network with current customers. It is not unusual to see a trade stand selling muck spreaders sighted next to a stand selling luxury cars.
The Royal Welsh is particularly significant for young people who live in farming communities in Wales. It is regarded as one of the highlights of the year and as an opportunity to socialise with old friends and make new acquaintances, particularly of the opposite sex. The Young Farmers' Association runs a series of competitions throughout Wales throughout the year and the finals of the practical competitions usually take place at the Show. Amongst these events are stock judging and tractor driving.