Here we are again; Ekka time. Marked with lovely sunny but mild days where blustery winds along with hordes of people start blowing in from the west. Meanwhile, city folk eagerly await the opening of the gates at Bowen Hills to start their annual 10 days of wonder strolling through the show bag pavilion, woodchop arena, side show alley, industrial displays and all those lovely animals.
I don't want to change the minds of dedicated Ekka goers. But hard as it may seem to most Queenslanders, there are some, not many I'll admit, who might not want to go this year. For those few curmudgeons I have compiled a list of 10 valid excuses not to go.
You need a padded suit to prevent the abrasions and contusions caused when everybody else in the crowd wants to see the same things as you and some of them are going to be pushy. Unless you like the thrill of being jostled and shouldered out of the way by thundering mobs then stay away.
2. Cost Have you seen how much it is to just get through the gate? $29; and that's if you pay on-line. Then there's the show bags – a cheap one is $2 and some are over $20; rides need a '$40 pass', your guess is as good as mine what getting a decent meal is going to cost.
3. Transport and/or Parking
Good luck with catching public transport that's not already full. When you do finally get aboard you're not going to get a seat and that's an awfully long way to stand on a crowded bus or train. If you drive, where are you going to park? What's that going to cost? You can't drive in no matter what you do!
4. Kids Your entire day will most definitely be spoilt by screaming kids racing hither and yon demanding parents spend even more money. Before long they will be in such a tither they're going to be sick all over the place. They should either ban kids all together or only allow kids in – adults and kids don't mix in frantic, crowded spaces.
There is every possibility you will leave the Ekka with more than you arrived, and I'm not talking sample bags. Showtime is when the annual virus epidemic arrives and the germs do their best work. Unless you want to test out your flu shot, stay away.
The Ekka is famous for its freezing cold westerly winds. These winds help spread the diseases and generally make standing anywhere other than behind a wall very unpleasant – good luck in finding a vacant space behind a decent wall.
7. Animal Noises
Stay away from the sheds holding the birds, dogs, cats, cattle, llamas or whatever other horrendously noisy beasts they have there. Once you have a headache from the stifling public transport, buffeting winds and screaming kids noisy bird and animal exhibitions are not going to help.
8. Animal Smells
An entirely different thing to animal noise and, believe me, stands on its own as a valid excuse. If the noise is not sufficient deterrent then be prepared to be hit by the smells of a large number of animals being restrained in small areas. If you must go, do not eat beforehand.
9. Walk and Walk
To get anywhere near $29 worth you need to walk and walk and walk. You can't settle for seeing part of the Ekka after you've paid all that money. Wearing comfortable shoes can only go so far. It's a big place and resting puts you in danger of missing out. The answer is to stay at home and watch the nightly news and you'll eventually see the whole place.
10. Why Bother?
Here is my ultimate valid excuse. If you have been to the Ekka anytime over the last 20 years then you've seen it all before. Things change very slowly and not very often.
There you have it, ten valid excuses to avoid the Ekka – if you want to.
Personally, I love the Ekka. Some of my fondest boyhood memories are of my grandfather, travelling up from Newcastle every year, giving each of us kids a pound note and saying he was taking us to the Ekka. Then it always ended up being mum with us screaming kids while granddad walked around and had a great time visiting all his old mates.
Never let a few little problems stop you from forming lifelong, happy memories.
A week ago I would have agreed with you but we went this year (6 years since the last time) and it has definitely changed. We went Tuesday so it wasn't very crowded. $6 return bus ticket from anywhere in the Translink network. Lots of quality food outlets, reasonably priced - could get a great cup of coffee for $3 which is cheaper than McDonalds. For those on a tight budget you can even get cheese toasties for $2. The Woolies food pavilion was a favourite for us.
I think this is the first time at the Ekka I didn't feel gouged at every step. Ok, not cheap to get in although a quick google will find you codes for a 15% discount for online tickets and can get a similar discount if you buy from RACQ. However, for a price which is not that far from a movie ticket these days you get a full days entertainment. We saw a number of shows including tap dancing, illusionist, singing by x-factor rejects (but seriously they are still pretty good) and the amazing firework show which was better than any I have ever seen in the past.
As far as the animals are concerned I was a little disappointed since there are far fewer now than in the past. But all in all, it was the best day out we've had in a while.
I love love love love the EKKA!!! I have been going since a young child and look forward to going again each year. I went yesterday...yeah Sunday the busiest day to go. So what!! Yeah sure it is not cheap (but neither is Movie World, Sea World, Going to the movies (have you seen the price of Jaffa's these days!!!) But you can go to those places 365 days of the year...the Ekka is just once a year and gives you a chance to fill your soul with all things country living and animals!
While I can understand that this may not be your cup of tea, your helpful list for staying away is rather negative- especially as you yourself say you love the EKKA. It is a wonderful experience for all and should be encouraged and this is something that Queenslanders are proud of. I met a couple yesterday who travelled from Victoria to come to EKKA. That is my view anyway. Marina