Country Style

Sydney Royal Easter Show

Just being a part of the iconic event and having the opportunity to share their passion with the public is often reward enough. For thousands of city kids, attending the Easter Show is their chance to learn about where their food comes from outside of a classroom and of course, to go home with an armful of their favourite showbags. No visit to the Show is complete without buying at least one showbag and they are not just for the kids.

Without spoiling anything, here is an inside look at the 2013 Sydney Royal Easter Show…

Showcasing Excellence
The Easter Show was first held in 1823 and is run by the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes and rewards agricultural excellence. This year marks 190 years of the Easter Show, a grand fusion of country and city culture. The Easter Show is Australia’s largest annual event and is held at Sydney Olympic Park Showgrounds in Homebush.

Farming families have been attending the Show for generations to enter competitions that encourage development and innovation, setting the benchmark for quality across a wide range of livestock, produce and skills. It is amazing to think that each year, close to 30,000 entries are received across 40 Show competitions in over 5000 classes. With more than $750,000 awarded in prize money and over 15,000 certificates, medals, ribbons and trophies awarded, the Show offers the largest prize pool in Australia.

Woolworths has a large piece of the Easter Show pie. The Woolworths Fresh Food Dome houses what must be the most popular display at the Show, the district exhibits. Every year, five Australian agricultural districts compete in the District Exhibits Competition. Using a variety of different fruits, vegetables and grains sourced from local competitions, growers from each district make a significant contribution to the construction of the giant exhibits. Over 10,000 pieces of prime produce are used to construct each entry along with the help of professional designers and volunteers. Jars of preserves and wool are also used to create these magnificent displays which are an absolute must see highlight of the Show.

The finished installations undergo five days of judging and showgoers love taking photos of the results. The district exhibits this year are nothing short of spectacular and a testament to the people who contributed so much of their produce, time and effort toward their construction.

The Easter Show is truly a gourmet experience. From freshly baked pies to sizzling steaks, toffee apples to corn on the cob, food is a huge part of the event. The Woolworths Fresh Food Dome is a central part of the Show, offering samples of everything from award winning fine wines to native bush honey. Showgoers are able to taste foods they have never tried before such as Egyptian dukkah made using blends of Australian bush tucker ingredients like lemon myrtle and wattle seeds.

The Woolworths Fresh Food Showcase is a food lover’s delight. It is interesting to see what delicious products and unique flavours can be created using fresh produce. Take the Yumi’s Seafood Dips stand for example, offering passersby samples of the company’s tasty products made using only the finest, freshest ingredients with no artificial colours or flavourings. With so much to see and do at the Show, it is no surprise that good food and plenty of it is in high demand every day of the event.

Jam Packed

Who could ever get bored at the Easter Show? With cooking, dirt bike riding, gardening and whip cracking demonstrations – to name but a few – there is something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to get in early and grab a seat to watch the dazzling nightly spectacular in the Commonwealth Bank Arena.

This year, the surreal Psycho Sideshow of Anarchy is back by popular demand. The Royal Agricultural Society first introduced the Psycho Sideshow back in 2007, teamed with a fully integrated communications campaign involving marketing, public relations and sponsorship. The idea was to honour the sideshow past of the Show and use that to address a decline in attendance by 18 to 35 year olds. The new attraction proved to be a great success with exit surveys showing a positive increase in the numbers of 18 to 35 year olds attending the Show.

The Psycho Sideshow celebrates the tradition of sideshow but gives it a fresh, contemporary feel. World famous performers like crowd favourite Space Cowboy perform some of the most bizarre, death defying feats in the Big Top Amphitheatre, putting audiences on the edge of their seats.

And what would the Easter Show be without the fun and excitement of the Coca-Cola Carnival? With over 100 games and rides, it is Australia’s largest carnival. Spinning, swinging and launching through the air far above the ground, the rides are engineering marvels. Just make sure to go on before lunch!

The Show Bag Pavilion is located opposite the bright lights of the Coca-Cola Carnival and the venue is just as, if not more popular. It is a large but crowded space that does a roaring trade every day of the Show selling over 300 different types of showbags. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the famous Bertie Beetle showbag. At just $2, the blue Bertie Beetle showbag is still one of the most affordable bags on offer and has developed something of a cult following.

While showbags from globally recognised brands like Barbie, Hello Kitty, Looney Tunes and Mr Men have the kids covered, there are plenty of bags aimed at teenagers as well. Showbags from trendy brands like Pepsi, Supre and Xbox are all cool with teenage showgoers. Parents looking for value for money tend to head toward showbags from household names like Arnott’s, Cadbury and Coca-Cola. The hardest part is choosing which bag to buy.

Of course, the Easter Show is as much about the animals as it is about the people. The Sunday Telegraph Animal Walk is an easy way to see many of the animal highlights; just follow the blue paw prints. The Dairy Farmers Farmyard Nursery is open every day of the Show and is always a big winner with small children who may have never had the chance to feed, hold and pet baby farmyard animals like chicks, lambs and piglets.

Kids can explore a dairy tradition of the past and milk a cow by hand in the Dairy Farmers Milking Barn. There are milk separating and butter churning demonstrations to watch as well as a working dairy, which offers showgoers a behind the scenes look at the incredible technology used to milk cows. The yard dog demonstrations located in the Davidson Plaza are presented by Purina dog food brand Bonnie. The working dogs demonstrate some of the skills they use on farms everyday on sheep and are terrific fun to watch. There is an old expression that “Australia rides on the sheep’s back.” Remember to keep an eye out for the expert sheep shearers along the path of paw prints and take a photo of the rather odd chook washing sessions. Who said that it could not be done?

Learning Experience

A day at the Easter Show is as much an educational experience as an entertaining one. The Show aims to deliver a paddock to plate experience, which often proves to be just as educational for the adults as it is for the kids. Small children may be surprised to learn that milk comes from dairy cows, not a carton, wool is shorn off sheep, and bees make honey from pollen.

While older showgoers know the basics about where food and textiles come from, actually talking to a dairy farmer, witnessing sheep being shorn and eating fresh produce direct from the grower gives them a completely new appreciation of Australian agriculture. The modern consumer wants to know where the food they buy in the supermarket comes from. Organics, biodynamic farming and ethical eating are generating more interest than ever before. People want to know just how sustainable the foods they eat are and who could be better to ask than the farmers and growers themselves?

People are asking more questions about not just the food, but also the products they are buying, and every year, the Show attracts a range of small to medium sized body care businesses selling everything from lip balms to soaps and moisturisers. A vast majority of the products on offer have been made using essential oils from Australian native species. Again, showgoers have the opportunity to buy direct from the grower; it is not uncommon for the person selling the products behind the counter to actually work at the plantation itself, and they are only too happy to share their knowledge and tell the story behind the product, which enhances the shopping experience greatly.

With all the challenges that farming in a sunburnt country of droughts and flooding rains presents, the Sydney Royal Easter Show is just as relevant today as it was 190 years ago. It is a proud celebration of Australian agriculture past and present that has helped establish a tradition of excellence with generations of farming families.

Whether it’s farm fresh apples, creamy milk or soft Merino wool, there is no question that Australian produce and textiles are premium quality products. The Sydney Royal Easter Show really is just a way to say thank you to all the unsung heroes who work tirelessly behind the scenes helping to nurture the nation and indeed the world.

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

December 19, 2018, 5:15 AM AEDT