By Jess Baker
After a rollercoaster year of epic proportions, residents of the region are due for something normal. The Stanthorpe Agricultural Society hopes to provide just that with its 2021 Bendigo Bank Stanthorpe Show, running Friday 29 January to Sunday 31 January.
Stanthorpe Ag Society president Brett Boatfield said this year’s show will be just like of previous years – only with QR codes, social distancing and sanitisation.
“The show will be as normal as possible, we just have a few Covid requirements we have to meet,” said Brett.
“Covid has actually given us the opportunity to expand a little bit… to space some stuff out and do things differently.”
The show’s fashion parades – usually held in the Sheep and Wool Pavilion – have had to be moved to the Exhibition Centre and split into three times (2.00pm, 4.00pm and 6.00pm Friday) in accordance with Covid-19 protocols.
“We’re also enforcing a ‘look don’t linger’ policy around the exhibits in the pavilion,” said Brett.
Thankfully, said Brett, restrictions have not hindered the show in any real way.
“We still have all the traditional show favourites, as well as some new and exciting additions,” he said.
“We have about 23 sub-committees this year and eight sections, which include cookery, all the crafts, horticulture, manual arts and photography.”
Guests will also have a chance to see the famous Noah’s racing pigs, as well as dreamtime reptiles, novelty horse events, fireworks shows and extreme entertainment from FMX Kaos.
Delicious food and drink – some of which is donated by local producers – will be available from the Ringmaster’s Café from 7.00am Friday morning. Displays and attractions in the Exhibition Centre will open to guests shortly after, at 8.00am.
Chief Steward of Cookery Dee Both said there is always a wonderful atmosphere and sense of place at the show, sure to be amplified after a year of uncertainty and times of isolation.
“It’s a great opportunity for a lot of people to come into town and meet with people they haven’t caught up with for god knows how long, especially at the moment but even in normal times,” said Dee.
Ringmaster Teena Wilcock said this year’s show – the 145th annual show of its kind – aims to celebrate the community’s traditions and diversity.
“It’s a showcase of the absolute best the district has to offer,” said Teena.
“We’re such a diverse community with sheep and cattle, vegetables, fruit and wine – there is a lot we have to be proud of.”
The Stanthorpe Show usually draws between 2000 and 2500 people per day and, despite current Covid-19 restrictions, this year is expected to be no different.
With so many people in attendance, Brett said it is highly recommended guests purchase memberships to the Stanthorpe Ag Society to make contact tracing as simple as possible.
“Membership with Stanthorpe entitles you to free entry on a members ticket to shows in Tenterfield, Allora, Killarney and Warwick,” said Brett.
“It also facilitates a contactless entry and makes it safer for everyone.”
Memberships must be purchased from the Stanthorpe Showgrounds prior to the Stanthorpe Show, and are currently priced at $20 for singles and $40 for families. Alternatively, admission to each day of the Stanthorpe Show can be purchased separately and at the gate at $15 for adults, $5 for children and $5 for pensioners.
“Unless you’re crook, please come and enjoy the show,” said Brett.
“We’ll have all the procedures in place to make sure that entry is as smooth and Covid-safe as possible and, if you’re worried about QR codes, just know we’ll have people there to help.”
For further information about admission, schedules, entries and more, visit www.stanthorpeshowgrounds.com.au or contact Brett on 0428 833 113.