CORONAVIRUS may well have put paid to this year’s Royal Welsh Winter Fair taking place as normal, but the alternative staging of the event is being described as a ‘shopping experience like no other’.

The pandemic resulted in the cancellation of the iconic Royal Welsh Show this summer, as well as the Smallholding and Countryside Festival earlier in the year. But whereas the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS) would dearly love to get back to business, Covid-19 does at least allow for a very different Winter Fair to be put together – and one last six weeks as opposed to the normal two days allotted for it in the winter months.

While Coronavirus restrictions have stopped the 2020 event from taking place on the showground, just outside Builth Wells, the society are eager to celebrate the agricultural industry and its importance in food production, and have created an elaborate Christmas Market.

The usual two-day event will become an online shopping experience like no other, with stalls opening for a six-week period, from the beginning of November, to ensure that gifts purchased will arrive in time for Christmas.

The online Christmas Market will include a directory of all last year’s trade stands for members and the general public to shop online from their favourite stalls and discover the unique gifts usually on offer at the Winter Fair.

Steve Hughson, chief executive of the RWAS, said: “While virtual events and meetings can never replace the feeling of being at a live event, we are committed to doing everything to keep our events alive and support our many exhibitors, traders and wider supporters.

“The success of the virtual Royal Welsh Show demonstrated what can be achieved and I am sure that the visitors to our virtual Winter Fair will be able to get a taste of our unique Christmas atmosphere and buy those locally produced gifts and produce that you can’t always find on the high street.

“We hope to be able to welcome you back to the showground as soon as restrictions allow.”

County Times:

The society have again teamed up with Business News Wales to create an online platform with the support of HSBC UK to showcase this years's virtual event.

HSBC UK’s regional agriculture director, Euryn Jones, said: “As a principal sponsor of the Welsh Winter Fair from its very beginning back in 1990 we recognise the event’s important role in the Welsh farming calendar, and we are pleased to support the 2020 Virtual Winter Fair.

“While we are all disappointed not to be able to attend in person this year, we look forward to the innovative programme of activities that is being prepared and wish the organisers every success in staging a memorable online event.”

Mark Powney, Business News Wales’ managing director, added: “I am delighted that Business News Wales has secured the contract to work with RWAS again to produce this year’s Virtual Winter Fair.

“While many thousands of visitors and participants will be disappointed to miss out on their trip to the showground, this partnership means they’ll still get to experience a virtual event.

“As well as delivering this year’s virtual Winter Fair experience to members and spectators, our production team will also share all sessions with our own daily audience of more than 20,000, putting the show in front of a new business audience this year.

“Our video, graphics, editorial and web development teams are working around the clock to ensure this year’s show is a digital success.”

Not only will the virtual Winter Fair offer a platform for tradestands to engage with the society’s numerous visitors it will provide another opportunity to display the agricultural industry and educate the public about agriculture, Welsh produce and the environment.

By offering a Christmas Market online organisers will be encouraging the Welsh community to shop local and support local businesses through buying produce that has been made and created in Wales and across the UK.

If you would like to become a sponsor or want to get involved in the 2020 virtual Winter Fair, contact the society on email or visit the RWAS website at