Life & Style Weekend - - READ - WORDS: DAVE MCLENAGHAN

Within 24 hours of last year’s Sun­shine Coast Agri­cul­tural Show fin­ish­ing, Janell Cox was plan­ning for the next edi­tion to en­sure there was more en­ter­tain­ment on of­fer than you could poke a cat­tle prod at. Know­ing the Show needed to make hay while the sun shone on it, Janell in­spired her team to think out­side the box and try for some­thing dif­fer­ent, real and last­ing.

Armed with ‘won­der­ful vol­un­teers’, the Show man­ager said there was a con­struc­tive de­brief to see how they could im­prove the an­nual event and un­der­stand what worked, and just as im­por­tantly, what didn’t.

Last year, 18,600 peo­ple poured through the Nam­bour Show­grounds’ gates over two days. Janell Cox wants more than that when the 113th edi­tion takes place on June 15th-17th.

Janell will cast a keen eye across all facets of the Show and with 160 trade sites in­volved plus ex­hibitors. She knows she’ll be mus­ter­ing plenty of in­dus­tri­ous peo­ple to bring the re­gion an event it won’t for­get.

“It’s good to have a lit­tle bit of change ev­ery so of­ten. I think it makes peo­ple want to come back again,” Janell said.

“Our theme this year is ‘work­ing dogs’ and we have sev­eral dif­fer­ent types of work­ing dogs com­ing to the show so it’ll be in­ter­est­ing to see the in­ter­ac­tion with kids.

“We also have Farm VR which is a vir­tual re­al­ity ex­pe­ri­ence. You put on your head­set and you’re milk­ing a cow or sheer­ing a sheep.

“The other day I experience­d pad­dock to plate. You’re round­ing up cat­tle, putting them into the yards, (and even­tu­ally) then you’re eat­ing it. You get the whole ex­pe­ri­ence and you’re there.”

While young­sters will be suit­ably im­pressed with the myr­iad of per­form­ing arts on the main stage, the young at heart haven’t been for­got­ten.

“Craft Beer Ally may in­ter­est adults. That’s new this year. We have plenty of brew­ers and have ciders, wines and liqueurs in the area with lo­cal pro­duce too,” Janell said.

“We’re lucky enough to have Paul Mer­cu­rio, of Strictly Ball­room fame, at the Show for two days do­ing pre­sen­ta­tions within Craft Beer Al­ley.”

Throw in bands, fire­works, vin­tage speed way, rally cars, wood­chop­ping and much more, and you have a promis­ing pro­gram.

For those look­ing for a qui­eter but no-less en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence, there are am­ple al­ter­na­tives. If you fancy food then head straight to the cook­ery, sweets and pre­serves area. There you’ll find the af­fa­ble chief ste­ward, Bev­er­ley Brad­ford.

Four­teen years ago, the self-con­fessed show cook­ery tragic baked a car­rot cake and en­tered the Ke­nil­worth Show and Rodeo.

She claimed sec­ond place and the love af­fair be­gan.

A few months later she walked away from the Maleny Show with six firsts.

“Prac­tice, prac­tice, prac­tice. I got a bit hooked and went a bit silly then fol­lowed the cir­cuit and used to pester dif­fer­ent show so­ci­eties to be al­lowed to lis­ten in on the judges,” Bev­er­ley said.

“It fas­ci­nated me. There’s a real science to it, a real art, a real skill. Look, it can be a bit crazy, a bit quirky too with the stan­dards that must be achieved.”

Her love of cook­ing is matched by her love of the com­mu­nity.

Her par­ents used to show cat­tle and Bev­er­ley’s child­hood mem­o­ries are full of en­joy­able trips to the an­nual Show. Even to­day, the mag­ni­tude of the event isn’t lost on her.

“So many kids to­day don’t un­der­stand the im­por­tance of agri­cul­ture. A day at the Show doesn’t have to be ex­pen­sive and it’s a whole day of en­ter­tain­ment. It can be an en­rich­ing fam­ily day out,” Bev­er­ley ex­plained.

“There is so much work that goes on be­hind the scenes be­fore it all cul­mi­nates in the Show. It wasn’t un­til I started in the new role that I re­alised how much ef­fort goes into it.

“I start to ques­tion why I’m do­ing it at this point (laughs). I sent a friend a text mes­sage ask­ing her for 10 rea­sons why I should be

do­ing this!”

Rest as­sured, Bev­er­ley will be at Nam­bour with a smile on her face and a list of dos and don’ts for those en­ter­ing culi­nary cre­ations.

Some of these in­clude never ic­ing a warm cake, mak­ing sure it doesn’t have any holes and when all else fails, read the in­struc­tions.

“That’s a big one – fol­low­ing your sched­ule. A lot of peo­ple don’t read the sched­ule. Some­times it may say a bar tin for a cut car­rot cake but they’ll put it in a loaf tin,” Bev­er­ley said.

“A ba­nana cake may have lemon ic­ing but some­one may for­get to put lemon in their ic­ing.

“If it’s too close to call, of­ten a judge may take a bit off the edge to see if one tastes bet­ter than the other.”

Another chief ste­ward whose pas­sion is un­de­ni­able is An­n­marie Law­son who’ll be work­ing with the show horses.

A life­long pas­sion for the an­i­mal was so­lid­i­fied as a young girl when ring mas­ter Bert Wal­lace sum­moned the then eight-year-old into the main ring.

“My par­ents were cane farm­ers so go­ing to the Show was our big thing for the year. It was the one thing we looked for­ward to be­cause it was ex­cit­ing,” An­n­marie said.

“When I was a kid, the Sun­shine Coast was all agri­cul­ture.

“There were so many dairy farms and cane farms but now the Sun­shine Coast is bet­ter known for the beaches.

“I think peo­ple for­get that we still have a big agri­cul­tural back­ground with lots of farm­ers. By com­ing to the Show, you get to see that.”

The ex­cite­ment is still there decades later and is present with her own kids.

“My 17-year-old son helped last year but this year he’s ju­nior chief ste­ward of show horses.

“He’ll be show horse mar­shal and my 12-year-old is an of­fi­cial photograph­er.

“He doesn’t mind get­ting on the mi­cro­phone too for some an­nounc­ing,” she said.

“The kids en­ter ev­ery­thing too. They put chooks in, they put art­work in, they put cook­ing in.”

Like Janell, An­n­marie took on board feed­back from pre­vi­ous Shows and worked hard to im­prove an al­ready good prod­uct.

“I’m try­ing to work with the dif­fer­ent breeds... work with ev­ery­one to get what they want be­cause in the past peo­ple have said ‘we don’t do this or don’t do that’ so I’ve spo­ken with them and worked with them to get them in the pro­gram,” An­n­marie ex­plained.

“We now have har­ness classes which is your pe­riod har­ness plus our friesian classes, western horse­man­ship classes and the Aus­tralian light-horse classes.

“Guy Fawkes Her­itage Horses have worked with me to get their classes in the show, which are brumbies in a way so there’s a lot on.

“This year we have some­thing new called ‘off the track’. It’s for stan­dard-breeds who have gone from ‘track to hack’ mean­ing they’ve done they’re rac­ing and re­tired, and com­ing back as plea­sure horses so it doesn’t end when they fin­ish their rac­ing ca­reer.”

And there’s no short­age of tal­ent rid­ing the beau­ti­ful an­i­mals ei­ther.

“We get some rip­pers here. I think they com­pare just as well (with those around Queens­land). Some com­pete here then go on to com­pete the Ekka,” An­n­marie said.

“Billy Ray­mont (show jumper) has just been com­pet­ing in Europe and he’s a lo­cal.

“He’ll be at our show. We may be a small agri­cul­tural show but we do get good qual­ity peo­ple and good qual­ity horses here.”

The Show will run June 15-17. For prices and in­for­ma­tion, head to www.sun­shinecoast­


Nam­bour State Col­lege agri­cul­tural stu­dent Lauren Robin­son pre­pares De­sign An­nie for judg­ing at the 2017 Show.


The 113th Sun­shine Coast Agri­cul­tural Show will have plenty on of­fer to keep vis­i­tors en­ter­tained.


Jar­ren King, Kai Mann and Oliver An­der­son.


Mikayla Jade takes Phoenix for a ride.


Brigitte and Gunter Nolle.


So­phie Pea­cock.


Fun on the dodgem cars.

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