End of era for lo­cal A&P show

South Waikato News - - Your Local News - LUKE KIRKEBY

The Toko­roa A&P Show is get­ting the axe af­ter 80 years.

‘‘It’s sad but times have changed,’’ says the show com­mit­tee’s sec­re­tary-trea­surer Sh­eryl Ear­les.

The show is one of three events that make up Toko­roa’s an­nual Big Week­end in De­cem­ber. Car­ols in the Park and the Toko­roa Christ­mas Pa­rade are the other two events.

This year will be the A&P Show’s last, al­though Ear­les did not rule out a re­turn in the fu­ture, if there was enough sup­port.

She said the pa­rade and car­ols were still pop­u­lar, but in­ter­est in the A&P Show has been dwin­dling and it was no longer vi­able to run.

‘‘It’s been go­ing since 1937 and I am very dis­ap­pointed that we will not be hav­ing one in 2018 but we are not get­ting the com­peti­tors and the pub­lic are not com­ing through the gates,’’ she said.

‘‘The amount of peo­ple com­ing through the gate last year was prob­a­bly half of what we nor­mally see.‘‘

Ear­les put the show’s demise down to a mix of tough­en­ing health and safety rules, an age­ing com­mit­tee, and peo­ple want­ing free en­try.

‘‘Com­peti­tors have dropped off in the last cou­ple of years which we feel is prob­a­bly be­cause the Royal Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety of New Zealand (RAS), which is the par­ent body, has been putting more rules and reg­u­la­tions on us all the time,’’ she said.

‘‘Our com­mit­tee is also not get­ting any younger. A lot of them have been do­ing it for 40 plus years and we are not get­ting younger peo­ple com­ing through so there is no one to take over,’’ she said.

‘‘Peo­ple go to the pa­rade but they don’t come down to the A&P Show. We have pre­vi­ously even put on free buses and that still hasn’t worked,’’ she said.

‘‘Our reg­u­lar spon­sors and busi­nesses in town are still pretty good but it is get­ting harder and harder to get their sup­port too.’’

‘‘I am dis­ap­pointed as it has gone for years and years and now it is go­ing to be gone.’’

The A&P Show in­cludes the likes of eques­trian, cat­tle, strong man, and pageant events along with trade stalls and live en­ter­tain­ers, has tra­di­tion­ally been held in con­junc­tion with the Toko­roa Christ­mas Pa­rade and Car­ols in the Park.

Car­ols in the Park is also in for some changes and will be held in Leith Pl this De­cem­ber along with other en­ter­tain­ment in Rose­bery St.

Ear­les said she is or­gan­is­ing a ma­jor prize for the night but the win­ner will need to be there on the night to re­ceive it.

She said she is also or­gan­is­ing a chil­dren’s win­dow com­pe­ti­tion which will be held over two weeks in Novem­ber.

‘‘Mr G your mu­ral is ab­so­lutely amaz­ing and it re­ally cap­tures the essence of Pu­taruru’s past and present,’’ she said.

‘‘I think I am right in say­ing that this is the only mu­ral that will be on State High­way One and we get 14,000 cars a day that go past here so what fan­tas­tic ex­po­sure.’’

Shat­tock said the new art­work had helped ce­ment Pu­taruru as the South Waikato’s arts hub.

‘‘Art has long been a part of Pu­taruru’s his­tory and its iden­tity but [this] art­work has lifted the art­work in our com­mu­nity to a new di­men­sion and It en­hances [Pu­taruru’s] po­si­tion as the arts and cul­ture cen­tre of our dis­trict,’’ she said.

Farm­lands chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Peter Rei­die said with 82 stores through­out the coun­try Pu­taruru was one of the lucky few se­lected for a mu­ral.

‘‘I want to ac­knowl­edge the role of the coun­cil, the peo­ple of Pu­taruru, and our busi­ness man­ager [Kate Camp­bell] from the store who made a huge ef­fort to make this hap­pen,’’ he said.

‘‘As you can imag­ine there has been a bit of com­pe­ti­tion when it comes to se­lect­ing sites but Kate did an amaz­ing job putting a case for­ward, she even wrote a poem.’’

Hoete thanked Farm­lands, the South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil and Pu­taruru for their sup­port.

‘‘It is a huge hon­our and priv­i­lege for me,’’ he said.

SCOTT HAM­MOND/FAIR­FAX NZ

The Toko­roa A&P Show has been given the chop.

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