NEARLY 200,000 people will be filling up the National Ploughing Championships in Co Laois this week - with organisers hopeful the good weather will result in more money being spent.
The annual festival is the biggest event of its kind in Europe, consisting of 700 acres and generating €40m over the course of three days.
Last minute preparations are being set up today before 60,000 descend on the site, which opens to the public at 8am tomorrow morning.
In addition to the ploughing competitions themselves, the National Ploughing Association have organised a multitude of activities for its duration from Tuesday until Thursday.
Everything from sheep shearing to welly throwing becomes a competition, while celebrity cooking demonstrations, vintage machinery exhibitions and fashion shows will also be taking place.
As always, the Farming Independent stand will be set up to answer all of your farming queries (see Block 2, Stand S, Row 300).
Traders expect a "dramatic surge" in business this year, namely because of the mild weather predicted for the week.
Traffic restrictions have been put in place around the Abbeyleix and Stradbally areas due to the volume of motorists expected and drivers are encouraged to arrive early in order to secure parking and limit traffic.