So we have established that Easter is BIG here. There’s even a Royal Easter Show – which we visited the day after we saw the Rand Eater Show advertised on NZ TV (yep the marketers in Jhb thought it was a clever idea to rent an electronic billboard at the game between the Auckland Blues and the Melbourne Rebels played here in Auckland at the North Shore stadium)!
It is much smaller than the Rand Show – in fact it is smaller than the Pretoria Show. It has three large halls (bottom left) dedicated to an art exhibition, general sales of products and farm animals respectively. There is a third hall which hosts a series talent competitions and then there is food, the amusement park and the Royal arena.
Generally everything was superbly organised and clean (as always) but attendance was limited and mostly the show was aimed at young families. There were many opportunities to pet young farm animals and to go on very safe slides and rides. There was none of the heavy agricultural equipment or the huge commercial exhibitions one sees at the Rand Show. Stalls sold gimmicks and frying pans, cheap sunglasses and the like. No big-name retailers or wholesalers.
Jules and I spent most of our time looking at the art and looking at the animals. Our neighbours (Vicky and Graham Buchanan) told us that their two daughters witnesses their first ever goat defecation moment. Such was the fascination that they spent the rest of the afternoon walking up behind every animal, lifting their tails and peering intently in hopeful anticipation. I’m pleased I was wearing jeans.
There were also some amazing exhibits of woodworking, sheep shearing (not shagging) and vegetable growing. Now this is a real pumpkin and it is one koue pampoen worth skrikking for.
The artists I particularly liked were Barbara von Seida (although her work was over-priced), Wendy Andrews (nothing on the web) and Russell McKenzie for his sense of humour. Jules was totally smitten by Donna Massey and Carl Skelton (scroll down).
After walking around and snacking we spent some time in the arena (lumberjack show) and then as dusk fell we wandered into the amusement park. It was interesting because it was all run by one company with all employees in uniform. It was really a step into the past with pellet gun shooting, hoopla, coconut shies, lucky darts, ball in a bucket, some “luck of the draw” and some skills tests. Each stall was manned by someone who actively tried to entice you to chance your luck or chance your arm. There was even a very hefty bloke with a hefty hammer urging people to “strike it lucky” : (random web pic).
Without wanting to be patronising it was all very quaint. There was a long, steep slide which required the riders to use hessian bags to increase the speed. There were the usual thrill machines and loop-the-loops. Screams aplenty. But I kept wondering if the machines behind the machines weren’t in fact combine harvesters that had just been converted. Just look at this clip of a thing called a scream machine. If you lose the gaudy paint and the padded seats I swear I can imagine some sort of thresher or farm implement that has just been repurposed.
Jules desperately wanted to see the cat exhibition but it was closed by the time we got there. We were back home by 7.