Laois County Council will present a number of stalls under one marquee at this year’s championships, comprehensively promoting the business, arts and community sectors of the county.
The council’s tourism officer, Mr Dom Reddin explained that there will be a staff of up to 30 people manning the marquee over the three days of the ploughing, all representing various sections of the council, Laois Partnership and Laois Enterprise Board, and Portlaoise and Portarlington enterprise centres, among others.
Speaking at the official launch of the championships, county manager, Peter Carey said: “This is the biggest event in Ireland, a great opportunity and we are delighted. Hopefully after the traffic went so well for the Picnic, and if business is high, we can get it back for another couple of years. It was a bit of both hard work and luck, the opportunity came up in a very short time, we saw it and grasped it.”
Mr Carey said Laois had enjoyed a string of big events, such as the regional Rose of Tralee and the Electric Picnic.
“The one thing that is emerging is Laois on national television. They show the rest of the country that we are unique, we can host these things as good as every other county and are every bit as confident.”
Laois Partnership and Laois LEADER will be on site to promote local businesses, and CEO Ms Anne Goodwin said that Laois Partnership will have a significant presence at this year’s ploughing championships.
“We will have a stand in the Laois tent being organised by Laois County Council where we will be represented by our staff,” she said, adding that they will also have a number of local craft and food producers in the LEADER food and craft village.
“The village consists of a number of craft and food producers grant aided by LEADER companies from around the country who will get the chance to showcase and sell their wares,” she explained.
Ms Goodwin revealed that there will be six local producers attending the craft village from Laois, but a total of 41 producers from around the country.
Among the local producers who will be taking part are Rossmore Farmhouse Ice Cream, based at Rossmore, Errill; Hatai Pheig handcrafted woollen hats; the Gallic Kitchen, Abbeyleix; and Gertie and Eugene McEvoy’s wooden products.