ONCE UPON a time, after the Aquarius Festival, the annual Nimbin Show was the domain of the "old settlers" and reflected little of the interests of the "new" ones.
But that was 40 years and three generations ago. Now the show is a joyous celebration of all that is Nimbin, from dairy cattle and lace doilies to solar panels and sustainable practices.
In the years since the festival, Nimbin has earned a name for itself as a centre for alternative culture. Out there in the hills, there are hundreds of people at the cutting edge of sustainable living, who have long-established homes and gardens, a high degree of independence in power and water, the capacity to grow their own food and the knowledge, experience and good sense to live lightly on the land.
According to the secretary of the Blue Knob Farmers Market, Jim Arachne, the Nimbin Show reflects these changes
"The market will be held on the showgrounds instead of its usual spot at Blue Knob Hall," he told The Echo.
"This year the market organisers present a new feature - Sustainability Alley, to highlight sustainability and food production in the Nimbin region."
Jim said the alley will feature a number of stalls and displays from groups such as the Nimbin Natural Beekeepers, Northern Rivers Hemp and Djanbung Gardens. A speakers' tent will host talks over the show weekend (see program for details).
Another new venture this year is the Paddock to Plate cafe, which will feature four main meal options, plus sweets and drinks including ginger ale. Diners will be able to trace the provenance of parts of every meal back to the local source.
A competition among home-brewers always attracts people ready to pass judgement on the product. This year's Brewers' Corner at the show is bigger than ever, according to organiser Terry Beltrame, with categories for light, medium and full-bodied lagers, beers and stout; red and white wines; spirits and liqueurs.
The show will also feature the Barkers Vale Brothers and the Tap Bitches (Nimbin's answer to the Newcastle tap-dancing troupe, Tap Dogs); a reptile awareness display; alpacas and a champion dog show; and Mick Davis' Dog and Duck show (in which Mick's dog herds ducks instead of sheep).
It's this Saturday and Sunday, September 22-23, with ring events starting at 8am. For the full program, go to www.nimbinshowsociety
.org.au or phone 6689 1583.