It seems everyone is counting their coins these days and wanting bang for their buck. The organisers of the 2012 Ekka have taken this into consideration. This year's Ekka is the cheapest in years, with family value passes and bundles on offer plus more free events than ever. In fact, more than 70% of this year's events at the Ekka are free.
Families can save money before even leaving home, by purchasing Ekka tickets online. A Family Pass for two adults and two children costs $62 online compared with $84 at the gate. The Ultimate Family Bundle includes the Family Pass, four main meals at the Steakhouse Snackbar, and a $60 ride card- all for $145. That's a saving of $55. The Ultimate Family Bundle is only available for a limited time, so don't delay.
Food is often an added, costly expense at these types of events. Don't despair. The Ekka is BYO. Bring your own food, that is. Families are more than welcome to pack a picnic to enjoy in one of the free Chill Out Zones at Ekka. If you're looking for a snack between meals, grab a $2 Coon cheese toastie at Woolworth's Fresh Food Pavilion; or taste test some of their food samples. Splurge on a strawberry sundae with the money saved on main meals.
You can't go to Ekka and not go on a ride, especially if you're a kid. The Euroslide is the least expensive ride at $3 followed by another twelve rides priced at $5: Bumper Boats, Grand Carousel, Cups and Saucers, Maze of Mirrors, and more.
Another added expense is the showbag. Just like the rides, a kid's Ekka experience isn't complete without a showbag. The Blinky Bill Bag is the cheapest showbag at $1 followed by the popular Bertie Beetle Blue Bag at $2. Another showbag bargain is 4 Bags for $5. With more than two hundred showbags under $15 this year, you should be able to buy a showbag without blowing the budget.
Once you're in the gate, there are plenty of free events to keep the family entertained. A few that are on my families to do list include the free kids cooking classes at the Brisbane Markets Agricultural Hall, Little Miracles Newborn Corner inside Animal Boulevard, Lego at Ekka in The Courier-Mail Learning Fun Pavilion, and Eskimo Joe at the Commonwealth Bank Auditorium (Saturday, August 18 at 7:30pm). For more information of these and other free events, click here.