I was going to continue my last holiday road trip with our visit to Bellingen and Dorrigo however have decided to postpone that visit for you until next week in order to visit our local show.
Our local show runs over two days on the first weekend in September each year. This year was it’s 119th anniversary. The show generates a lot of excitement within the local community as it brings in people from all over the place. The local retailers enjoy a slight rise in takings and the local pubs enjoy the overflow when the show the finishes for the night.
Overall, the show is a family-friendly affair enjoyed by people of all ages and parents are generally comfortable about letting their older children roam around in the company of their friends (as long as they keep coming back to check in with said parents on a regular basis).
Our family love the show and we never miss it.
It provides us with an opportunity to catch up with people we haven’t seen in some time, admire the talent and handiwork of those we know and savour new tastes, sights and sounds.
Although the Show is generally laid out exactly the same each year, there are often changes to the stall holders that provide a bit of difference.
Food is provided by commercial mobile food vendors with competition provided by many local churches and charities. We tend to purchase our food from the local groups as we know the profits are going back into the community.
Our show visit began around 1.30pm when we parked a short distance away (parking is definitely at a premium during show time) and walked to the front entrance of the show grounds to purchase tickets. Having lived right in the centre of town prior to moving to our little house on the hill, we were aware of the area behind a local church in which we were able to park. Much safer than parking on the street with the advantage of being across the street from our old home and neighbours and a short enough walk back to the showgrounds.
This year, the show entry was through the main trade pavilion rather than the gates in order to encourage people to stop, check out what is on offer in the area and quite possibly buy goods or sign up for newsletters or other specials.
As the Tween had made plans to meet up with her friends in front of one of the pavilions at 2.15pm she wanted to spend time with us for a short while before running off and having fun. We chose to exit the trade pavilion and made a bee-line to the photography and sewing sections so that we could see how I did.
Nothing for photography. (I found out this morning that I had entered a couple of photos into the wrong section because I read it wrong. Apparently the judge liked these photos but disqualified me *sigh*) However I did manage a 1st, 2nd and a 3rd for some of my sewing. The Tween was excited for me.
We didn’t stick around here too long as the walk to the pavilion where the fowl are is a little way off and we all love checking out the chickens and ducks before they are packed up and taken home. It’s a very noisy place but one that is enjoyable to visit.
As is generally the case when you are in a bit of a hurry, we bumped into people we hadn’t seen in some time so spent time catching up before making it to the pavilion with the birds just in time for their final presentation. By-passing the crowd around the main door, we slipped in through another and browsed the rows of birds waiting to be taken back to their chook pens and dams at home on the surrounding farms. Nobody batted an eyelid as I attempted to encourage the “Loudest Crower” to show me his stuff. He stared me down until I moved on to scratch the head of the “Friendliest chicken”. The “Loudest Crower” then let me know in no uncertain terms that he deserved his award. I applauded him.
At this time the Tween figured she had spent enough time with us and then rushed off to meet her friends. Childless now, the GG and I wandered off to look around on our own. Over the course of the next hour and a half or so, we visited the animal nursery, watched the woodchop, caught up with other friends, watched a sheep dog obey the commands of his owner and round up some chickens, spoke with representatives from the local library about free online courses, caught up with some rather tall cowgirls outside of a little wooden chapel (that is for hire) and checked out some of the cars that would be involved in the night’s entertainment.
Checking on the Tween and her friends in Sideshow Alley to ensure that all was well, we went back to claim our place on the arena seats for the night’s entertainment. We set about finding our seats around 3.45pm only to discover that nearly all of them had already been claimed or reserved with blankets and bags. However we were in luck and found enough space to fit ourselves, our friends and a couple of friends of the Tween to watch the night program. Many had bought their own chairs and had begun setting them up behind us.
Joined by our friends, I settled in to watch the last of the show jumping whilst the men went off to look at the ‘cars’. Funny how they headed in the direction of the Tin Shed (the bar) rather than where the cars were.
I hadn’t brought my zoom lens today sticking with my 18-55mm lens, my little point and shoot and my phone but I still managed to catch a couple of reasonable shots of the showjumping.
This fellow decided there was NO WAY he was going over this jump and put the brakes on.
After some encouragement he went back and tried again.
When the showjumping was over, the setup for the night program began. I commented to my friend that the night program is a testosterone overload and we both agreed that it must be organised by men.
First off was the “Beaut Utes” parade and circle work where the young men show off their ‘prowess’ behind the wheel. Although the grounds had been watered down, everyone in the crowd (and the stalls behind us) were covered in dust by the end of it.
One of the events for the night was “Dominoes”. The aim of this is for several old upright cars filled with hay to be set alight and then special reinforced cars, to drive through them.
Unfortunately, this event came to an abrupt halt after one of the cars smashed into a burning vehicle and the hay fell onto the driver of the stunt car.
(Warning – very blurred photo coming up)
We all held our breath waiting for the driver to climb out. Eventually the alight driver, climbed through the windscreen and onto the bonnet before throwing himself to the ground and rolling around whilst fire crews doused him with water. He was fine and stood up after a couple of minutes. The collective sigh of relief around the ground was audible.
Next up was the first of the smash up derbies planned for the evening.
By this stage, my back had gone out once again and I was struggling to remain seated for the rest of the program that included a motocross (pushbike and motorbike) demonstration, speedway cars, ‘caravan’ race, fireworks and another derby.
However I got through the night.
It was a long and painful walk back to the car in the now extremely cold night air where we jumped in (well the others jumped and I gingerly lowered myself into the seat), slammed the doors and fired up the car heater for the short drive home.
I had first dibs on the shower to warm my bones and wash the smoke and dust from my body whilst the other two fought over who was going to use the second bathroom.
Sometimes having an injury works in your favour 😉
And the show is over for another year. 🙂 Thanks for joining me.