Bonniconlon Agricultural Show & Gymkhana celebrates 66 years this year, having commenced in November 1949. Fueling its initial establishment were two main ideas that would ensure the development and betterment of Bonniconlon.
Since then, executive committees behind the event continued in its endeavours to achieve the two main goals set out six decades ago: firstly, to present an attractive feature event with an exhibition of all farm and garden produce, animals (including horse and pony show and jumping) and crafts. Secondly, the concept was aimed at attracting visitors to Bonniconlon to create a meeting point for exiles and domiciled in the large urban centres, to celebrate, to gather and to see again the cultures and traditions of rural life.
From the 1950s right through to the present day, the show has, year on year, pieced together segments of its history and now celebrates a colourful jigsaw of achievements and successes. Vast improvements have taken place in the accommodation of the event - the showgrounds and adjacent hall. In 2008, the event introduced new showgrounds at the show field and parish centre which now see the provision of 200 acres to facilitate the ever-growing number of attractions and exhibitions. It is certainly a very different spectacle today from the pioneering days of the first committees.
The quality of the stock and the various exhibits; the flower show; cookery; crafts; photography and junior section have all seen dramatic advancements - and that is to name just a few.
In recent years, the show has evolved considerably with the provision of live bands on the field and wide-ranging side shows and events that cater for all ages and interests. The present committee has proven that it can host a show as entertaining as that of any village, town or city in the county - and maybe even in the entire country. Indeed, Bonniconlon Agricultural Show & Gymkhana, taking place each year on the August Bank Holiday, has earned a reputation for being one of the most successful, innovative and well-attended shows, attracting visitors from all over Ireland. It is a real, traditional Irish family day out for the thousands of attendees who return every year.
Such success truly is down to the culmination of community effort which continues to see the dreams of its predecessors advanced and expanded.
Tradition holds that the 'show dance' is held in its original venue, the Grove Ballroom in Bonniconlon, as has been customary down through the years. Bonniconlon now prides itself on the fact that the Grove has stood the test of time and is now the last original dance hall in existence in the west of Ireland.
Months of planning and organising have ensured that year after year, Bonniconlon Agricultural Show & Gymkhana not only proves every bit as successful as in the previous 12 months - but also develops and improves what the event has on offer. Putting it simply, after over 60 years of hard work, dedication and innovation, no other show in its category even comes close.