A RECORD attendance at the spring festival for smallholders and gardeners and those interested in a sustainable way of living has confirmed its status as one of the most popular attractions in Wales.

This was the 11th festival to be staged by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society and over the weekend of the event 26,026 people passed through the gates of the showground at Llanelwedd, Builth Wells, beating the previous best attendance of 25,588 established in 2007.

In a message to visitors the chairman of the festival, Dr Fred Slater, said the event had become more than just a show but that it was a festival dedicated to making the best of Welsh rural life.

“The aisles are like all good country lanes. As you move along them from one place to another there are always exciting and unexpected things to see around every corner including the opportunity to sit and watch the rich programme of events in the main ring,” he said.

The festival’s winning formula includes classes for livestock, many of them for rare breeds, a Green Horizon eco exhibition, folk dancing, a premier dog show with more than 1,000 entries, a vintage machinery display and shearing and woolhandling demonstrations.

Colourful displays in the Floral Hall together with a wide range of garden, agricultural, food and craft stands are among the scores of attractions and visitors could also participate in question and answer sessions with experts in smallholding, environmental and countryside issues.

Main ring entertainment featured falconry displays, high-speed scurry driving, axe racing, and a musical ride by Shire horses.

A poultry show with 300 classes was staged on the first day of the Festival and there were also auctions of poultry, farm equipment and vintage memorabilia.

The prize for the best sheep breed trade stand went to the Jacob Sheep Society for the second year in succession and the Welsh Black Cattle Society again won the competition for the best promotional stand for native breeds of cattle. The best pig pen award went to Brian Evans, Rhondda Cynon Taf.