One of the biggest events in Blackpool’s weekend diary gets underway at the Winter Gardens today.
The British Homing World Show Of The Year sees around 15,000 people descend on the complex for the biggest gathering of pigeon fanciers in the country.
There are due to be 2,000 racing pigeons and 1,000 fancy pigeons on display, with various sales and raffles taking place throughout the weekend.
Row upon row of cages have been set up in the grandeur of the Empress Ballroom, and trade stands will be ‘exhibiting everything pigeon’, at the event which is the biggest of its kind in the UK.
General manager of The Royal Pigeon Racing Association, the event’s organisers, Stuart Wardrop said: “This year is the 10th anniverary of the fancy pigeon show, and the 39th of the weekend being in Blackpool - so we’re already excited for and advertising next year when it will be the big 4-0.
“We’ve got around 10,000 coming today, and five to 6,000 tomorrow, with people coming from all over Europe to attend.
“It’s the history that keeps people coming, as well as good access for people to get here.”
Pigeons can change hands at sales and auctions for thousands of pounds during the weekend, hailed as the Crufts of the bird world. The show is said to be worth around £2.5million to the local economy.
Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Each year the show brings together thousands of old friends, at the biggest social event in the pigeon fancier’s diary.
“Events like these mean a lot to the local economy, offering a welcome boost to tourism during a quiet month.
“I understand film crews from across the country and Europe will be attending, which is great publicity for Blackpool.
“Personally, my own dad races pigeons and I’ve grown up around that lifestyle, so am really looking forward to seeing the event in Blackpool again.”