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Links between community rural and urban lives continue to unwind with the death of agricultural shows. Insurance, maintenance and on day running costs coupled with the severe drop in competition have been major factors in the demise of a once proud heritage.
Laughing Clowns on Sideshow Alley
The rural sector has suffered through subdivision, drought flood and wild animal attacks and urbanised migration. Its therefore heartening to see one long standing agricultural show continue to open its gates in its 137 th year within the Granite Belt – less than two hours drive south from Brisbane.
Stanthorpe Agricultural Show welcomes visitors on Friday the 1st of February to Saturday the 2nd of February 2013. A full program of entertainment both in the arena and within the pavilions end with a traditional fireworks display on the Friday. Saturday promises excitement for the crowds with the Quickshears Shearing competition, woodchop and chainsaw events, finishing in the evening with the demolition derby.
A day for the family could easily be filled watching the skills of the sheep dog trials, the heavy horse trials, judging of sheep, cattle or goats, the fashion parade supported by local boutiques and models, the ever young dodgems, ubiquitous dagwood dogs, the showjumping, dressage, 'you beaut ute show', the very necessary unusual and comical vegetable display and a new section pairing fruit and vegetables with the artistic eye of school children; all this culminating in a huge display of fireworks on the Friday night or the Derby on the Saturday night. Having been to a number of agricultural shows, this author can honestly say that the Stanthorpe Show Society spare nothing to ensure a spectacular night-time display is produced every year. Showside alley bursts with all the favourite attractions, from the spooky haunted house, giant bouncy castles, pluck-a-duck, super slide and the ferris wheel.
Although the entries are diminishing, the normal displays in photography, artwork, flowers, needlework, cookery and pottery are proudly on show in the large pavilion. A variety of cookery displays and entertainment events are scheduled throughout the day showcasing local individual and group talents. All the normal Show standard food is available - the 'hot and tasty' dagwood dog, healthy sandwiches and international food dishes, such as teppanyaki noodles and Indian delights courtesy of the Catering Committee, overflowing country style steakburgers and the local favourite, Angelos Pasta Barn. With Stanthorpe in the heartland of wine-growing, there is strong competition for the best wines and liqueurs; many of which are available for tasting.
A weekend visit to the area is not wasted, with bushwalking opportunities, a myriad of wineries and fresh produce farms to visit and consume the wares. Camping and cabins are available next door to the showgrounds or there is a huge variety of farmstays or B & Bs to choose from.
The travelling side shows were once the only access people had in thrill rides, but now with permanent theme parks being within easy access to the majority of the population even these once proud travelling families have either limited or stopped their wanderings. It has been years since the boxing tent with the banging drums and men standing high along the roof line beckon the local lads. Our heritage is poorer for it's passing.
Its important to support these community gatherings, not only as a link to your past; but as a show of solidarity for the rural sector. The Stanthorpe Show, like most other small shows have reasonably priced day entrances with Adults $10; Pensioners $6; Children 17yrs & under $3 and Car parking at $2.. If you can't make it to Stanthorpe Show this year, seek out your local show and look at it with new eyes.
The Showgrounds are at the gateway to the township itself, on High Street. More information about the Stanthorpe Show, or for Commercial Exhibitors and Community Groups wishing to hold a display at the show inside the pavilion or outside on the grounds, contact the Secretary. PO Box 106 Stanthorpe 4380