I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
Escape the city and head for one of these cool country shows
There's a special quality about Showtime which invariably brings out something of the child in each of us. Perhaps it's the influence of the ubiquitous Laughing Clowns, or maybe it's the copious amounts of fairy floss that one tends to ingest on the big day, but definitely something magical happens when the local Show comes to town.
Agricultural shows have been a big part of Australian cultural life since the nineteenth century. The Agricultural Society of Western Australia was formed in 1831, just a few decades after the Swan River Colony was established on Australia's remote west coast, and three years later held its first Annual Fair and Cattle Show at Guildford, modelling the event on the fairs which were a traditional part of English country life. As European settlement in the colony expanded, pastoral leases extended far beyond the Swan Valley, and by the end of the century, almost forty agricultural societies existed. In 1904 the Society relocated from Guildford to a new 35 acre site in Claremont, and the first Show was held on there in 1905. Over a century later, the event is an established part of the Perth social calendar, and now attracts approximately 500 000 people each year.
While here in Western Australia, it's the Royal Perth Show which invariably grabs most of the attention, there are also numerous smaller shows held throughout the state every year, both in large regional centres and tiny country towns. Personally, despite the many attractions and big excitement of larger festivals, I love these smaller, more mellow shows which pop up, like mushrooms, every spring.
Although there may not be as many scary rides or flashy show-bags as the 'big city' events provide, these simple rural shows capture the spirit of traditional Australia, with their focus on the land, livestock and the enthusiastic participation of all sorts of local community groups. They're wholesome fun for the whole family: refreshingly affordable in comparison to the ridiculous prices charged by their city counterparts.
In conclusion, Showtime means many things to many people: for kids it means show-bags and lots of rides, for teenagers it means a big night out, for country people it means a week in the 'Big Smoke' and for city people, an opportunity to experience something of country life. So do yourself a favour, escape the city, and expand your cultural horizons. Showtime in the country is wonderful for children and grown-ups, alike: a delightful celebration of rural living and strong community.
Following, is a list of some of the agricultural shows which will be held throughout Western Australia over the next few months.
Saturday, 18th August, 2012: Beverley Show; Perenjori Show
Saturday, 25th August, 2012: Dalwallinu Show
Wednesday, 29th – Thursday, 30th August, 2012: Dowerin Field Day
Saturday, 1st September, 2012: Mullewa Show, Yilgarn Show
Wednesday, 5th – Thursday, 6th September, 2012: Newdegate Machinery Field Day
Saturday, 8th September, 2012: Chapman Valley Show; Koorda & District Show; Quairading Show; York Show
Saturday, 15th September, 2012: Carnamah – North Midlands Show; Corrigan Show; Northam Show; Northampton Show
Saturday, 22nd September, 2012: Kellerberrin & Districts Show; Moora – Central Midlands Show
Saturday, 29th September, 2012: Tambellup Show
Saturday, 29th September – Saturday, 6th October: Royal Perth Show
Saturday, 3rd November, 2012: Dumbleyung Bluebird Festival
Tuesday, 6th November, 2012: Upper Blackwood Agricultural Show
Friday, 9th – Saturday, 10th November, 2012: Albany Show
More information about specific Shows and their contact details can be found on the Perth Royal Show website. Otherwise, you can phone the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia on 08 6263 3100 or email them at email@example.com. Both Busselton Show and Albany Show also have their own websites, where you can find out more.