Archive for April, 2012
Hats off to bush hats
As quirky and diverse as the events hosted at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, the attendees and exhibitors alike sport a range of diverse outfits. Initially, it appears to be a jumble of attire, but a closer look reveals patterns among the passers-by.
One of the first accessories to stand out is the traditional bush hat. Farmers, riders and cattle drovers, among others, sport the sun-blocking icon of rural Australia. From the rabbit fur Akubra to old ‘Western’ hats, wide-brimmed headgear is always immensely popular.
Choosing which hat to wear is no easy feat. Contrary to popular belief, there is an actual hat-tiquette. The fold-up brim, classic ‘cowboy’ hat is mainly a working hat, where the flat-brimmed variety is for trips to town.
In the bush, the boot and buckle get-up is a necessity for horse riding and farm work, while the hat’s main responsibilities include skin protecting and shade providing. For city girls who just like to be part of the Show – branded ‘buckle bunnies’ by country folk – the look has become a fashion statement.
For those with a slightly fancier dress sense, the Show’s ‘country meets city’ slogan is taken to a new level. If Giorgio Armani had been John Wayne’s stylist, the result would be something like what can be witnessed among the Members and Councillors at the Show.
As the Show draws to a close, the bush hats go back to their natural habitat for the rest of the year – to farms, the outback or a suburban closet.
A place for learning
When you think of kids at the Show, you picture mouths gaping in awe and giggling at a strange smell or texture. These are the faces of kids enjoying learning about animals and agriculture at the Show.
The Junior Farm Hands Activity book is the perfect guide for kids on their quest for knowledge at the Show. The hunt for information takes them to eight different locations to pat a pig, watch a cow being milked, wash a chook, and more.
The food farm is a hub for learning at the Show for parents and kids alike. Through a colourful collection of interactive exhibitions and sculptures, the farm sets out to answer the question: where does my food come from? Highlights include a bakery where you can watch cooks prepare pastries behind a glass window.
Aspiring TV and radio stars will love the ABC interactive trailer at the edge of The Park. You can seize the chance to watch yourself on TV, or put on your best voice for a radio show, and then watch and listen to your performance at home, online.
For those kids who are contemplating running away to join the circus, you can get prepared at the Ashton Circus’s skills workshops at The Park. Here you’ll be able to test your juggling skills and learn some sleight of hand.
And at the end of the day, brave parents can set their own challenge by testing kids’ budgeting skills at the Showbag Pavilion.
The Show is a world of wonder for many and provides the perfect place for learning something new.
Bags of fun
Can you believe that over one million showbags have already been sold at this year’s Show?
It’s no surprise really, with the amount of bags on offer this year – a record 342.
Kids this year have a huge range of showbags to choose from. Family favourites such as Freddo and Nestle make an appearance, as well as many newcomers, such as Monster High, The Smurfs Bag and Oreo. The Junior MasterChef bag, deriving from the popular show, has been the most popular so far.
For those watching their purse strings, this year there are more than 130 showbags on sale for 10 bucks or less.
While the Show is an opportunity for the country to showcase its livestock and produce, showbags and rides are the some of the most iconic features, right up there with the District Exhibits and the Dairy Farmer’s Nursery.
Did you know that showbags were introduced in the early 1900s? Starting off as sample bags so the public could try something for free, they have evolved to become the goodie bags that we have come to know and love.
So if you want to bag a bag of fun, there’s no better place than the Show.
Love is in the air at the Show
While Valentine’s Day might be two months gone, here at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, there is no denying that love is in the air.
From fresh young couples just starting out, to relationships that have stood the test of time, the Show has proven a successful cupid in the quest for true love.
Young country couple Jackie Threlfall and Cal Mc Phee are enjoying their first time together at the Show. Cal is a dairy farmer and showing his dairy cattle.
Farmer Josh Harris, who manages the pat-a-pig activity, and his fiancée Alisa Nye, who manages the Dairy Farmer Farmyard Nursery, are enjoying their fifth Show together as a married-couple-to-be. Even though both are kept busy working with the baby animals, they still find time every year to enjoy their own romantic night at the Show.
For the couples of the District Exhibits, love is the fruit that just keeps on giving. Every year many companions work tirelessly to put together the fantastic displays.
Take Ian and Jennifer McGaw, for example, who are still Show sweethearts after 51 years. The couple met at the Show while working on the Western District Exhibit display and got married one year later. This year they are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and still going strong.
Then there is June and Kel Coleman who ch-ch-chose each other nearly 60 years ago and have been coming to the Show together with their train ride attraction for 46 years.
Meanwhile Doug and Barbara Nieass from Londonderry have been coming to the Show for close to sixty years. The couple have exhibited everything from canaries to cattle and attribute friendship and working together as the key to their diamond marriage.
So if you’ve got a hot date or are looking for love, make sure you head on down to the Show…you never know who you’ll meet.
Volunteering for the love of the Show
Every year, thousands of volunteers dedicate their time and efforts to making the Sydney Royal Easter Show a great success, and without them, the Show would not exist.
This year, there are over 3,000 volunteers lending a helping hand at the Show.
Their roles may vary, but their passion for providing a great day out for the people of NSW and beyond, is the same.
The friendly people in green shirts scattered across the grounds are event volunteers, who are assigned to numerous roles. They help people around the grounds with queries and directions, assist with crowd control or kids’ activities, such as stamping the Junior Farmhand Booklets at animal pavilions.
Some event volunteers, such as sisters Carol Barr, 68, and Vivian Clifton, 79, are hooked to the Show and have been volunteering for 11 years, but have been coming to the Show ever since they were children.
St Johns Ambulance is also helping out at the Show, with their bicycle emergency response team providing rapid response service to patients. There are six bikers riding out around the grounds at any one time.
But the volunteer roles don’t stop there; there are numerous Judges, Stewards, Councillors, performers and more who generously provide their time for the love of the Show.
Three cheers for our Show volunteers!
Wheels around the grounds
With the Sydney Royal Easter Show site covering a whopping 21,000 square metres, it’s no wonder there’s plenty of wheels around the grounds to help people get from A to B.
Popular this year has been the ergonomically designed shopping (aka granny trolley) – perfect for shoving your 15 showbags or gigantic bear that you’ve won at sideshow alley into.
But if you’ve got kids in your clan then a pram is the best plan. You only have to head to the Pram Parking at the Dairy Farmers Farmyard Nursery to see the line-up of Mercedes Benz’s of the baby world.
For the many staff and volunteers around the Show, to save wearing their boot soles thin, they zoom around the grounds at 10km/h on a golf cart.
The St John of God Paramedics have also got their transport down to a tee – they scoot around the site on a push bike, weaving through the crowds to get to an emergency or injury in the quickest possible time. Now that’s nifty.
For those that have to stick to the bland old method of walking – just think of the calories being burnt.
A feast of flavours
For a once-a-year food binge, there’s no better place than the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Iconic Show food stalls colour the grounds across the Show selling their range of tasty treats, which often come on a stick, in a cone or between buns.
The stalls along Showground Road and the Channel 9 Grand Parade take things to whole new level when it comes to one-handed food handling.
If it’s traditional Show food that takes your fancy, you can’t go past a Dagwood Dog. It’s an interesting taste experience, to say the least. It’s a sausage coated in batter, deep fried and impaled on a stick. They’re best eaten with tomato sauce oozing off.
Rivalling the Dagwood Dog in recent years has been popular treats Cheese on a Stick, Chip on a Stick and debuting at this year’s Show, Pizza in a Cone. To wash these treats down, fresh lemonade is the ultimate liquid refresher.
But it’s not all about calorie-laden food at the Show. In fact, there’s an abundance of fresh produce and gourmet offerings. New outlet, Café NSW, features locally sourced produce and Sydney Royal award-winning products. There’s luxury aplenty with char-grilled king prawns, Hunter Valley cheeses and fresh oysters to delight the Show crowds.
For the freshest produce on site, head over to the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome and walk up to the gorgeous District Exhibits. The Exhibits slice up their finest fruit every morning and sell it to the general public at a few bucks a bowl. It’s healthy, cheap and truly tasty.
Eating is an Agricultural Act
There’s lots of fun and frivolous things that happen at the Show, but there’s also a more serious and educational side to Australia’s largest event. At the heart of the Show is celebrating, recognising and rewarding agricultural excellence.
Every day is about agriculture at the Show but a special day, Excellence in Agriculture Day, was held today to highlight the vital role farmers and agriculture plays to the health and wealth of our nation.
With 2012 heralded the Australian Year of the Farmer, this day was particularly in the spotlight, recognising the important work farmers do in providing for our nation and ensuring a sustainable food source for our future.
A range of events took place, including an Innovation and Technology display, a debate on genetically modified food and an inaugural Country vs City cricket match, featuring Australian Year of the Farmer ambassador, Glenn McGrath.
The next time you’re wandering around the pavilions at the Show and witnessing the fine display of animals, or eating prime meat or fresh fruit and vegetables, spare a moment for our agricultural industry and how lucky we are to live in a country with productive farmers and plentiful resources.
To read an interesting speech on Australia’s agricultural future, delivered by Professor Bill Bellotti at the opening of the Sydney Royal Easter Show, click here.
Professor Bill Bellotti is the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation Chair in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development, and Director on Board of the Australian Year of the Farmer.
Babes at the Show
There’s plenty of babes around the grounds at the Show; of the young animal variety, that is.
Today in the Pig and Goat Pavilion, Mini the Miniature Pig, who was not so ‘mini’ during her pregnancy, gave birth to a litter of 13 piglets. Both sow and her litter will be on display for the duration of the Show. According to Farmer Josh, Mini is not a big fan of women but easily warms up to men.
Nearby in the Dairy Farmers Farmyard Nursery, there are baby animals aplenty. Goats, calves, piglets, chicks and ducklings – you name it.
The youngest animals at the Nursery would have to be the chicks, which could be as young as a minute old. The eggs can hatch any time, so showgoers can see the chicks hatching from their eggs or their very first peck.
The baby goats in the nursery can range anywhere between just 2 weeks to 3 years old.
If you want to see, pat and learn about baby animals, there’s no better place than the Show.
There have been many celebrities sightings at the Sydney Royal Easter Show over the years, with stars like Nicole Kidman, Russell Crow and Elle MacPherson all making an appearance.
Ruffling feathers this year is a different kind of celebrity. He goes by the name of 007, and he’s a turkey.
According to owner Gary Norman, he’s always been something special and a little different. It all started when the curious bird started following him around the house, and eventually jumped into the car. It wasn’t long before the stage became his new home.
In the lead up to the Show, he’s been in demand. Channel 7’s Sunrise, The Sunday Telegraph – everyone wants a piece of 007.
With a personality like Jack Nicholson and the good looks of Tom Cruise, it’s no surprise the camera loves him.
While there is a Mrs 007, much like the real movie star and secret agent, one Bond girl just isn’t enough for the suave turkey. He even has a big red turkey by his side as personal security.
Life isn’t all about glamour and ladies for the big black bird though. He’s experienced a darker world too. 007 has even been to prison – but as the good guy.
As part of a prison program, he’s visited prisons all over NSW to cheer up and hang around inmates. He’s kept even the toughest criminals in line without a single shot being fired.
What a guy.