Going to ‘The Show’ in any area of Australia is a big deal for the people who live in that area. What started off as a quiet celebration of country meeting the city, the local agricultural shows have grown in recent years to be a huge day out for the family and an event that has the potential to empty your wallet!
Depending on where you are in Australia, the agricultural show will even have a different name. In Brisbane it’s called The Ekka. In Sydney it’s the Royal Easter Show and in Melbourne it’s simply called The Show!Regardless of what you call it, it’s a similar even in every location.
There are exhibitions of animals. It starts with showcasing baby chicks and other baby animals in the animal nursery. Sometimes you can see hatching emu eggs. There’s always a cat and dog grooming section and often you can see chickens and other birdlife competitions as well.
Baking and produce feature heavily at these events and many hundreds of people enter the competitions to win a ribbon and a certificate.
Then there’s the livestock. Cows, pigs, horses and sheep all get a look in for judging of the best in show. You might even see some goats!
In the arena you can see the animals parading around at various times during the day and usually there is some kind of show each night. There can be horse events, sheepdog demonstrations, car rallies and motorbike stunt jumping.
If animals aren’t your style there are rides both for little kids and the big daredevil kids amongst your group. The ghost train is a perennial favourite and anything that tips you upside down and shakes your insides about is usually a big hit with the teenagers!
Remember to visit the showbag pavilion and pick up a few bags of treats for the family too. No matter what team you follow or cartoon character you enjoy most you’ll find a bag to suit your taste. Even the local radio stations usually get in on the act with merchandise on sale printed with their latest logo.
Food is a big draw of the show. The usual stuff like donuts, dagwood dogs and strawberries and ice cream always sell quickly. These days you can usually find baked potatoes, nachos, fresh sandwiches and fruit salads on sale too. Even if you’re being healthy you’ll be able to find something to suit you. Although your kids probably just want a hotdog on a stick and some fairyfloss!
Many people complain about how much they spend at their local show as all this fun can soon add up! Here are a couple of tips to keep the price down next time you visit:
• Go in the afternoon. There is often a discounted ticket after 4pm and the show is normally open fairly late. If you go later in the day your kids can still go on the rides and get their showbags, you can feed them dinner and then go off home knowing everyone had a fun time. Spending less time at the show means spending less money in almost all cases.
• Buy a package ticket. You can buy a family ticket that will cost you less or even an entry ticket bundled with a rides package.
• Use coupons or book ahead online. In the days leading up to the show you will find coupons in your local paper or on the show website. Use these to pre book your entry or your rides to save even more. Buy your showbags when you first arrive and then use the coupons for ride discounts that you’ll find inside many of them.
• Let your kids know their budget ahead of time. Let them know how many showbags they are allowed and encourage them to plan ahead which ones they would like to buy. This will stop you spending 3 hours in the showbag pavilion and also help you to avoid your kids begging for ‘just one more’ showbag! We actually give our kids a dollar limit and they can buy any bags within that limit.
• Encourage your kids to enjoy the animals and the arena show, which are all free. If you do this from the early days of taking them to the show when they are still little they will look forward to more than just the rides and bags as they get older.
As you can see, your local show has a heap of fun in store for your family.
Whatever holds your interest and no matter what age group you are, there is something at the local show for you!