At its recent Annual General Meeting, the Royal Isle of Wight Agricultural Society (RIWAS) announced that the date of the 2011 Isle of Wight County Show (which is the 113th) will be Sunday 17th July. The venue is to be the Society’s own showground in Northwood, and the event will follow last year’s successful one-day format (view photos below).
Following that announcement the assembled RIWAS membership were informed of an exciting new initiative for 2012, following receipt by the Society of approaches from two organisations wishing to take over much of the organisation and development of the event from next year, with the aim of increasing its size, scope and visitor figures.
The idea of RIWAS sharing its popular event with a commercial organisation for the first time gave rise to some lively discussion, with the result that the members gave RIWAS’ Executive Committee a mandate to pursue both approaches, while also inviting any other interested organisations to put forward outline proposals.
A sub-committee has been formed and an invitation for expressions of interest is to be published this week, with a deadline of February 25th for receipt of initial proposals at RIWAS offices in Newport. The sub-committee will then study all proposals and make a recommendation to the RIWAS Executive as to which, if any, proposal should be investigated further.
“This is a really exciting initiative”, claimed Rosemary Edwards, Hon. Secretary, RIWAS, “and it comes at a time when the Society is particularly keen to attract new input in the form of ideas and membership.
“We are keen to be as even-handed as possible in arriving at plans for the future development of the Island’s County Show, which is why we have advertised for expressions of interest from other organisations, to add to the two very interesting approaches we already have in hand.
“I am hopeful that in a few weeks’ time we will be in a position to report to our membership on the outcome of the initiative and seek their support for the direction it is taking. There is a good deal of work to be completed first, however.
“Whatever the outcome, the ownership of the Isle of Wight County Show will remain with RIWAS, and the aim of the event will still be to provide bursaries for island-based agricultural students.”
The first event was staged back in 1894 and at its height was the biggest show on the Island, attracting many top-class entries, trade stands and thousands of visitors from the island and the mainland.
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