Good shows get­ting harder to find

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

FER­RIS wheels, hot chips smoth­ered with tomato sauce, sideshow al­ley clowns and ridicu­lously over­priced show­bags ... yep, it’s show­time.

It’s show sea­son across North Queens­land and I have been hit with a wave of nos­tal­gia big enough it could prob­a­bly ride on some of the scarier car­ni­val rides with­out a par­ent.

I have fond child­hood mem­o­ries of watch­ing pup­pet shows, spend­ing $ 30 try­ing to win a cer­tain stuffed toy by pop­ping bal­loons with a dart, cov­et­ing kew­pie dolls in sparkly dresses and painstak­ingly pick­ing out my show­bag at the coun­try shows in my re­gion.

Then there are the mem­o­ries of be­ing al­lowed to go to the show at night with friends in my teens, be­ing thrown around a me­tal capsule on a some­what rick­ety ride and get­ting suck­ered into buy­ing all man­ner of tacky junk. But for all those won­der­ful mem­o­ries, I have to ad­mit a good show is get­ting harder to find.

Townsville Show is in a dif­fer­ent cat­e­gory to the ones I’m think­ing of, chiefly be­cause it’s that much big­ger. It’s enough of a fix­ture that the carnies aren’t go­ing to bail and take their rides else­where. Big events have stay­ing power, but it’s of­ten harder for the lit­tle shows that grad­u­ally see all of their at­trac­tion drift away.

For one, shows of­ten tend to be ex­pen­sive and then once you get in­side your wal­let just keeps get­ting bat­tered.

The hot, greasy and of­ten foul tast­ing show food doesn’t come cheaply while a trip down sideshow al­ley could easily be­come a costly out­ing if you let any of the sweettalk­ing op­er­a­tors con­vince you of your shoot­ing/ fish­ing/ ball throw­ing abil­ity.

It’s sad to think that shows could fade out even­tu­ally but there are things that give me hope.

I had the priv­i­lege of go­ing to Ing­ham Show ear­lier this week for work and I have to ad­mit it was one of the bet­ter coun­try shows I had been to in years.

The charm of the unique pret­zels served with mince, the Ro­tary stall serv­ing up ravi­oli and the keen crafters putting in their all to keep the pav­il­ion sec­tions alive were just some of the things that struck me.

I can take or leave the generic clut­ter that seems to come with ev­ery show cir­cuit but it’s those lit­tle lo­cal touches that have kept the coun­try show alive in spite of an in­creas­ing swell of al­ter­na­tive event op­tions.

Now if you’ll ex­cuse me, I have some rosella jam from the Unit­ing Church ladies I’d like to sam­ple.

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