Blackpool’s economy was set to benefit from up to 20,000 people winging their way to the resort for the annual pigeon show.
The Winter Gardens is playing host to visitors from all over the country with more than 2,000 birds for the 40th British Homing World Show from the e Royal Pigeon Racing Association.
Organiser Ian Evans, RPRA general manager said this year’s event would also feature a guest appearance from the pigeons chosen to represent Great Britain later this year in the Pigeon Olympiad in Brussels.
He said: “The show itself is hugely popular and the biggest in the country so very important to people who keep pigeons.
“It is also very important to Blackpool’s economy too. Go to the social clubs in the evenings around Blackpool and you will see hundreds of people who have come to the show.
“We are set to get between 15,000 and 20,0000 people through the doors with everything from people showing their birds to stalls displaying pigeon food and care products, lofts vets and feeds.”
Roland and Julie Thresher had come up from Minehead in Somerset, and have been coming to the show since 1978.
Roland, who has 130 birds at home, said: “It’s a great pastime and you meet some great people, some are friends from years back and you get to see them the same time each year.”
His wife Julie said: “I find looking after pigeons very relaxing.”
Ken Hardacre from Richmond in Yorkshire, Danny Ferguson and Alec Wallace from Perth have been coming to the show since the first one in Blackpool 40 years ago.
Danny said: “There are just nine people who have come this weekend, who went to the first show.
“There are some lovely pigeons here in the racing and the show categories and the judges will have their work to do.””
Ken said: “I got into pigeons by accident at five years old , looking after birds that just flew into our yard. It went from there.
“I have 21 birds showing today with 13 that have been first placed over the years so I am hoping for a bit of luck and to give the judges something to think about.”
Patrick Axe, 16, from Doncaster was at the show with his family who breed and sell pigeons.
Setting up the stall, he said: “The family has been breeding pigeons since 1945. I race as well and have been doing it since I was five.
“I started with my granddad Ian who used to breed birds and race them and was very successful.
“I really enjoy it. It is something different, not as many people do it as they used to, and you meet some interesting people and the birds are beautiful.”