ROLL UP, ROLL UP IT’S SHOWTIME
THE 113TH SUNSHINE COAST SHOW WILL SHOWCASE THE REGION’S AGRICULTURAL SECTOR AND BRING RURAL AND URBAN COMMUNITIES TOGETHER. A CLOSE-KNIT TEAM, ONCE BITTEN BY THE SHOW BUG, IS DEVOTED TO KEEPING TRADITION ALIVE
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
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.sunshinecoastshow.asn.au
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.
Fun on the dodgem cars.