Organisers of the Turriff Show have been heaped with praise for bringing an entirely new audience to the traditional farming event.
The show’s committee has been credited with advertising the town’s potential as a tourism destination.
The 155th edition of the show drew to a close at The Haughs last night after drawing in large crowds over two days.
Organisers made a conscious effort to build on the demands of visitors after last year, when a survey revealed the main draw outside of agriculture was the food and drink.
The £70,000 investment in a larger pavilion, packed with nearly 50 local companies selling their goods, paid off with sellers and long-term attendees noting how busy the tent was.
But it was not the only expansion at the show as there was increased space put to use for the sheep show yesterday in a new field.
This in turn allowed more space for fairground rides, a larger arts and crafts tent and new bandstand.
Show president Graeme Mackie said: “We know we can count on great support from the farming communities in the north-east but we also want to cater for others.
“This is how we see the expansion as a natural way to make the weekend a truly north-east show.
“There is a huge demand from the public to see where their food is coming from.
“A lot of the exhibitors were saying sales have gone well beyond their expectations and some even reported stock shortages towards the end of the weekend.”
Last night, local politicians hailed the the organisers for improving the event year-upon-year.
Councillor Iain Taylor said: “This year has been a marked step up and they have added another facet to the show.
“The organising committee, predominantly local farmers, has been savvy and wise enough to realise they need to market this more widely.”
Fellow Turriff councillor Alastair Forsyth added: “The food and drink offering in the new tent brought in a different audience.
“We have had quite a number of visitors from the continent and this is expanding the tourism offering.
“The organisers have done a super job overall and should be praised to the hilt.
“The success of these shows is in the ability to bring in new people to maintain interest.”
But it was old favourites that kept the grandstand packed as people headed to The Haughs for the second day of the show to watch the sheep, cattle and Clydesdale contests.
Visitors were treated to scorching sunshine yesterday after rain had driven them to the exhibition tents on Sunday.
The show’s grandest prize, the champion of champions, went to a Simmental heifer owned by Reece Simmers from Backmuir in Keith.
A heavy horse display brought down the curtain on the weekend in the main ring, which organisers say seemed as popular as ever.
Mr Mackie: “The champion of champions winner was fantastic and then we had a marvellous grand parade of the winning beasts.
“The grandstand was bustling right until the end of the day which was absolutely excellent.
“It has been another hugely successful show and we owe that to the committee and the support we enjoy from the community.”