Monday, September 7, 2009
Showtime 4 - Putting on a Show
It’s been a long time since I went to an A&P show - Agricultural & Pastoral for those overseas who may not know what an A&P show is. But as a kid growing up in the Waikato, they were part of the annual calendar. I wasn’t a farmer’s daughter but A&P shows have a way of luring in entire communities wherever they are held in New Zealand – and in Australia. My last association with A&P shows was as an agricultural journalist in the Wairarapa about 20 years ago – reporting on show events, interviewing stud farmers, photographing shearers and wood-choppers – all the fun of the fair as they say. And then last year, when I was in Melbourne and its rural environs for three weeks – that’s Australia by the way, not New Zealand – I visited the Kyneton Show. What a treat. Everything much the same as our smaller rural shows – the cows, the poultry, the horses, the dogs, the machinery demonstrations, the side shows and ferris wheels – with the added bonus of something distinctly Australian – red dust and a poisonous snake display.
This year, I’m priming myself for a return to the A&P show scene – yes, already – for the Canterbury A&P Association’s annual show, which has been delighting visitors every year since its inception in 1862. The association was granted the rights to host the Royal New Zealand Show until 2012 inclusive and that has inspired a new level of excellence among livestock competitors and judges alike. It’s the most prestigious agricultural event of the year – over 120,000 people attended in 2008 - and whether you’re a food and wine lover, a daredevil or an animal fan, you’re going to find something to please. There will be over 7,000 livestock and feature competition entries, a grand parade, and around 600 trade exhibits; and during the three days of the show over 3,000 horses, 1,000 sheep, 900 cattle, 300 alpacas and hundreds of other animals from dairy goats to sheep dogs, converge on Canterbury Agricultural Park at Wigram, in Christchurch. It’s all part of New Zealand Cup and Show Week, the 10-day festival that contributes over $27-million to the local economy. If you want to check out this year’s programme and get yourself some of the first tickets, check out http://www.nzcupandshow.co.nz/ and there’s additional info at http://www.theshow.co.nz/ This year’s Royal New Zealand Show will be held on Wednesday, November 11, Thursday 12 and Friday 13th. All images courtesy Christchurch City Council, NZ Cup & Show Week.