Sunday, 20 April 2014

The Royal Easter Show

Last week, we went to the Royal Easter Show at Olympic Park in Sydney. I’ve never been to a county fair or such like before and, I must say, it was a lot of fun.

It’s a really well organised affair and despite the large numbers of people, it never really felt over-crowded. Public transport to and from the venue was included in the ticket, which was a nice touch. Extra shuttles were laid on from central station and exiting the train at Olympic Park with the crowd, I felt like I got a glimpse of the excitement and atmosphere that must have been present when arriving for the Olympics itself.

We didn’t really know what to expect, so we didn’t plan our day as such and mostly just mooched about. There were some events in the main arena as well as a couple of other venues within the Olympic Park. We did not see much but did catch some of the wood chopping, which was interesting and rather crazy. These guys have some very shiny axes and sure can chop wood!

Just before lunch we saw part of the “300mm underhand” competition, in which the competitors stand atop the block to be chopped and then hack down into it. A few well-aimed hefty blows chops out one side before the competitors turn around and chop out the other side to split the log. It’s all over in a few seconds.

Good as the wood chopping was, one of the main motivations for attending the Show was the Arts & Crafts section. My wife knits and knew several people with entries in different knit-craft competition categories, including some winners. Not being so into fashion, my favourites were probably the knitted toys and creative knitting, including a Dr Who and Tardis and South Park nativity scene.

The creativity was not limited to knitted items, of course. Lots of other handicrafts were on display. I particularly enjoyed the cake decorating competition entries, which were simply sublime and incredibly imaginative. These alone were probably worth the entry money.

Something else that really impressed me was the breadth and depth of the agricultural displays geared towards children, which were engaging, entertaining and educational in equal measure. These included cow milking, sheep shearing and a small animal barn in which goats and chickens etc. were roaming free and could be fed with hay that was on sale by the cup.

After checking these out, and some of the “best of breed” animal competitions, we visited the Woolworths fresh food dome. Unfortunately, we has already had lunch at this point - if we go again next year then we will definitely look to eat here instead of the many fast food options available.

The Food Dome was also the home of the impressive agricultural district displays:

Climbing up the walls of the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome, the District Exhibits are one of the Show’s iconic displays, featuring creative and artistic installations assembled from outstanding quality grain, wool, fruit and vegetables. Each display consists of more than 10,000 pieces of the best quality fresh produce from five agricultural districts throughout NSW and South East Queensland.

Following the bad bush fires this year, there were a couple of poignant displays, including one that featured an aerial firefighting helicopter and several fire engines. The size of some of the produce was also extremely impressive!

All in all, it was a really fun day and highly recommended, whether you have kids or not. Well worth the $38.50. It’s on until Wednesday, so if you live in/near Sydney, there’s still time!

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