Once a year, a farm load of animals invades the city and the smell of dagwood dogs hangs heavy in the late-summer Canberra air. This signals one thing: the Royal Canberra Show is coming to town!
I grew up visiting Sydney's Royal Easter Show but I've been visiting the Royal Canberra Show for many years now and it doesn't disappoint. Smaller than it's Sydney cousin, the Canberra Show still offers up all of the classics you'd expect at an event like this but on a more manageable scale.
It has the animal competitions including cattle, sheep, horses, cats and dogs as well as a petting zoo, fly-ball, pig racing and a few other animal activities. You can head into the enclosures to get very close and personal with the prize-winning animals and often, have a chat to the owners and learn about the animals and what goes into getting the show ready. There's a petting zoo for kids and you can take a break and watch some amazing horsemanship as competitions play out in the main arena.
The Harvest Hall is home to a beautiful produce display including flowers, herbs, fruit, vegetables, eggs and some pretty epic cakes. These things are grown and made by ordinary people and if the displays have you motivated to have a try, you can be a part of it too, just check out the guidelines on how to enter on the Canberra Show website and use your visit to get some inspiration for your own entry next year! If you are an artist, crafter or photographer, there are some great displays of this type of work too.
Last but not least, the Canberra show has the sideshow alley which is 100% part of any modern agricultural show experience. There are halls full of show bags, crazy wigs, more deep-fried food than I could imagine is good for anyone and rides, rides and more rides. Walking through sideshow alley is for me a bit of a step into an alternate world, the constant haranguing from the attendants and the circus vibe making it a unique part of the ah-show experience.
So whether you're seeking some solace in the quaint crafts, arts and animals of the country or prefer some bright and brash sideshow buzz, the Royal Canberra Show has you covered!
The Royal Canberra Show runs from 28 February to 1 March in 2020.