Visitors to soar for bird festival

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It is no flight of fancy to call it the biggest pigeon show in Britain – with 25,000 people expected to visit the resort’s Winter Gardens this month.

The British Homing World Show of the Year returns to Blackpool on January 17, bringing with it pigeon fanciers from across the country.

The annual three-day event, which has been held at the entertainment venue since 1977, makes it the resort’s busiest weekend outside of the main tourism season.

Show manager Stewart Wardrop said: “The Blackpool show is without doubt one of the largest in the world and regularly attracts around 25,000 visitors.

“It is held the third weekend in January each year. We understand that it is one of Blackpool’s busiest weekend of the year when hoteliers, restaurants, taxi drivers and shopkeepers welcome pigeon fanciers and their families with open arms.”

Fanciers can buy anything from a £25,000 mahogany loft to a bag of pigeon corn at one of the 200 or so trade stands.

Thousands of pigeons change hands at sales and auctions where sums of £10 to perhaps £10,000 can be paid for a pedigree racing pigeon or its offspring at what is called the ‘Crufts of the pigeon world.’

Stewart added: “Around 2,500 pigeons are on display, all trying to win best in show with the winner going on to the Supreme Champion class.

“To enter this class then your pigeon must have won at a pigeon show in the previous 12 months. There is a lot of kudos to winning at Blackpool and indeed the same for any fancier who is invited to judge. It is a great honour for them.”

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