This weekend all roads will lead to Builth Wells for the Royal Welsh Spring Festival, a two-day celebration of smallholding and rural life.

More than 1,300 livestock and horses will be on display, along with scores of tradestands, workshops, food producers and performers.

The event also includes the only Premier Open Dog Show in Wales and, since last year, the Royal Welsh Trail Running Festival.

It all takes place at the Royal Welsh showground in Llanelwedd on May 20-21.

On Saturday the festival will remain open until 8pm (5pm on Sunday) with free entry into the showground after 5pm.

Festival director Kay Spencer said: “Of all our society events, the Spring Festival is the most family orientated and relaxed.

“We delighted to be able to stay open later on Saturday so that our visitors don’t have to rush home.

“At a time of year when we are enjoying the longer, lighter evenings and the prospect of fine weather, we wanted to continue the celebration of rural life into the evening.”

Everything for smallholders in one place

The festival original began as a smallholders’ event

If you’re a smallholder, or thinking of becoming one, the Smallholder Centre is the place to head for.

As well as tradestands and demonstrations, there is a speakers corner offering a range of smallholding topics. This year these include “Growing without pesticides”, “Digital marketing for growers” and “All you need to know about chickens”.

Little Smallholders can milk a cow, make butter, hunt for eggs, create woollen friendship bracelets, learn how to drive a mini digger and remote control a Landrover.

Taste and tuck in

Enhance your buy local credentials in the Food and Drink Quarter

The best of artisan produce from Wales will be showcased in the Food and Drink Quarter.

Scores of exhibitors have booked stands, including several start-ups and new kids on the block.

Making a return this year is BASC’s Richard Hunt and his game cookery demonstrations.

The new Menter Moch Cymru Project will be launched in the Food Hall and, to mark the occasion, chef Bryn Williams will be cooking a Welsh pork dish.

Fancy footwork in the cattle ring

Footgolf is being showcased at this year’s festival (Photo: Richard Wilkins)

During the summer Royal Welsh Show teams of young farmers take over the cattle ring to compete in rugby sevens.

But next weekend the sport taking centre stage will be footgolf.

As it implies, this is played on a “golf course” using a small football – which means nearly everyone can have a go.

Also appearing in the cattle ring will be the mounted division of the Dyfed-Powys Police Special Constabulary.

However a planned auction of poultry, poultry equipment and collectables will not be taking place this year, organisers have confirmed.

Counting sheep

The festival’s livestock come in all shapes and sizes

There will be more than 1,300 livestock exhibits to see, from goats to rare breed sheep and cattle.

There may even be the odd alpaca or two. Plus poultry, rabbits, and donkeys

Visitors can learn how to look after a range of different animals and have a go at handling some of them.

Flowers, shrubs and otters

Floral exhibits in the Gardening Hall

As usual the Gardening Hall will be packed full of plants, from cacti to dahlias.

This year Neath Port Talbot Group is installing its “Spitting Images” garden that encloses a serpentine pond.

There will be plenty of tradestands along with competitions and have-a-go activities.

The hall includes a honeybee section and two stuffed otters!

Get a taste of the countryside

The dog scurry is in the Country Life area

Visitors can bring their dogs and try out a dog scurry in the Country Life area, home to the festival’s woodland and country pursuits activities.

BASC is staging a gundog display and the section includes a wood chopping competition.

Visitors can also have shooting or archery lessons.

Trial of strength

Many new classes have been added to this year’s equine schedule

The horse section is now one of the biggest at the festival, with more than 100 classes.

Nearly all the breeds are represented, from miniature Shetlands to heavy horses.

New sections this year include Arabs, Irish Draught, Side Saddle, Hacks & Riding Horses, and a young handler competition.

If you’re feeling brave, you can even take part in a game of tug-of-war with a shire horse!

Something for the kids

Newborn chicks are always a firm favourite with youngsters

Let the children get up close and personal with cute and cuddly animals, or explore the “living classroom”.

Alternatively they can have a go at some circus skills, try panning for gold or try their hand at cycling and archery.

All children aged 16 and under have free entry.

Watch where you step

The only Premier Open Dog Show in Wales is held at the Royal Welsh Spring Festival

The only Premier Open Dog Show in Wales is held over the two days at the festival.

This features more than 1,000 dogs hoping to qualify for Crufts.

There are 259 classes, with non-sporting breeds on the first day, and sporting dogs on the second.

Visitors can bring well-behaved dogs to the showground, but they must be kept on a lead.

Running on Wild Trails

Everyone’s a winner in the Royal Welsh Trail Running Festival

This year sees the return of the Royal Welsh Trail Running Festival in and around the showground.

Four races are offered – half marathon, 10k race, family fun run and toddler trail. The two longer courses start and finish on the showground, and take in valleys, fields, woodland tracks and stunning forestry.

Race sponsors this year include snack bar producer Wild Trail, based in Tywyn. It means all runners crossing the finish line will receive a free race T-shirt, medal and a Wild Trail snack. So far more than 700 people have entered.

Race entry fee includes free entry into the Spring Festival.

Stay late and chill out

Late night Saturday enables visitors to listen to local bands and sample street-food

To make the most of the spring-like weather (fingers crossed!) and the longer days, the Spring Festival will again be open until 8pm on Saturday, May 20.

In the evening the food and drink quarter will burst into life with live music and performers along with an array of street food stalls and producers.

It’s a time for relaxing and listening (or dancing) to local bands such as Lucky Pierre, The Sam-Antonio Freeway, Cold Flame, Gruig, The Poor Boys of Worcester, The Troup and McCarthyism.

Meat And Greek

After a successful festival debut last year, the Street Food Area returns to the 2017 Spring Festival

After a successful festival debut last year, the Street Food Area returns, held under cover at the Shearing Centre.

Some 15 mobile and pop-up caterers have been lined up, from Ele’s Little Kitchen, the Dusty Knuckle Pizza Company and the ultra-punny Meat And Greek with its BBQ Souvlaki.

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