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Tasmanian Country Shows 2014

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by Carolyn Hopping (subscribe)
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.
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An Authentic Taste Of Tasmanian Country Life
Are you planning a visit to Tasmania and are seeking authentic local events that are well off the tourist trail? Or perhaps you're a Tasmanian local searching for fun affordable things to do that the whole family will enjoy. A visit to one of Tasmania's country shows may be just what you're looking for.

Every year there are many great country shows held around Tassie
Every year there are many great country shows held around Tassie

Originating in England as county fairs, agricultural shows first appeared in Australia just a few decades after colonial settlement. Like their English forerunners, they provided the opportunity for farmers to show off their prized livestock and produce and served as a social hub where primary producers could network with their peers. While the colonies' first shows were invariably held in the largest, most established settlements, as British settlers infiltrated further inland and new townships were established, local agricultural societies were formed that organised smaller regional events.

Country shows provide heaps of fun for the whole family
Country shows are heaps of fun for the whole family

The Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania traces its history back to 1821, just eighteen years after Van Diemans Land was established as a British penal colony, and was initially known as Van Diemans Land Agricultural Society. In 1822 the first show was held in the Old Market Place, close to where the State Parliament House is now situated. Wealthy free settlers were quick to recognise the island's potential for agricultural development and it wasn't long before much of the land was under cultivation and small towns had been established. With their livelihood dependant on the land, these small settlements soon established their own agricultural societies and within a few short years shows were being held in these places as well.

Rural shows are the perfect 'city meets country' experience
Rural shows are the perfect 'city meets country' experience

I made my first visit to the Apple Isle (as it's often fondly called) in 1983, just after I left high school, and immediately fell in love with its spectacular landscape, quaint little hamlets and the slow, leisurely way of life that is now a relic of the past in most other places throughout the world. On a few occasions during my travels I stumbled across small country shows, held in the most breathtaking natural locations, and from that time I've been a big fan of these wonderful old-fashioned events.

The cookery pavillion is a popular spot at most country shows
The cookery pavillion is always a favourite at most shows

A visit to an Australian country show is a nostalgic journey into the past that the whole family will enjoy as there's something for everyone. There are exhibits of prize-winning livestock, often adorned with the colourful sashes that they've won; show-jumping competitions for the pony-lovers; pavilions full of yummy cakes, home preserves and gorgeous handicrafts; colourful sideshows full of tacky novelties; hair-raising rides that seem to get wilder each year and much, much more. Many events conclude with a special event such as a firework display or even a rodeo.

Every year, during the warmer months, agricultural shows are held throughout Tasmania. The following is a list which includes links to some of the larger events' websites. If you're looking for a fun-packed and affordable day out, the humble Australian country show certainly can't be beaten.

Saturday March 15: Wynyard Agricultural Show, Bream Creek Agricultural Show

Sunday March 29: Hamilton Agricultural Show

Thursday May 1 - Saturday May 3: AGFEST

Friday May 30 - Saturday May 31: Campbell Town Agricultural Show

Friday October 3 - Saturday October 4: Burnie Agricultural Show

Thursday October 9 - Saturday October 11: Launceston Agricultural Show

Friday October 17: Flinders Island Agricultural Show

Saturday October 18:Longford Agricultural Show

Wednesday October 22 - Saturday October 25: Royal Hobart Show

Saturday November 1: Ulverstone Agricultural Show

Friday November 7: Sheffield Agricultural Show

Saturday November 8: Westbury Agricultural Show

Saturday November 8 - Sunday November 9: Brighton Agricultural Show

Friday November 14 - Saturday November 15: Scottsdale Agricultural Show

Saturday November 15: Huon Agricultural Show

Saturday November 22: Deloraine Agricultural Show

Friday November 28 - Saturday November 29: Devonport Agricultural Show

Saturday December 6: Circular Head Agricultural Show
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Why? Country shows are friendly, fun and affordable
When: Throughout the year
Where: All around Tasmania
Cost: It varies
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