Show on the money
Three dollars for a packet of chips! Bloody hell, I feel like I am haemorrhaging money. A couple of minutes on the back of a pony was $5 per child and the other rides range from $5-$10 each. A trip to the North Coast National Show with the kids should have been an enjoyable family outing, but my youngest is freaked out by the cacophony of noise and the eldest is struggling with the concept of 'finite resources'. Fifty dollars is gone before you can say “two buckets of chips, two sausage sandwiches and a couple of nori rolls please”.
But at least we didn't have to shell out an additional $40 for a family pass to get in. The Echo is a sponsor of the Show and, as such, I was lucky enough to get a ticket that got us in the gate for free. How is Kevin Rudd's much loved “working family” able to afford it? Was there a separate stimulus payment that I missed designed to stimulate rural shows?
It was a common complaint heard around the showgrounds and in the post-Show analysis. One Echo associate described it as “the most expensive form of family entertainment, ever”.
That said, I still managed to enjoy the Show again this year. For all its fairy floss and sideshow alley tackiness, the Show really does offer something for everyone and brings the diverse communities of the region together.
The highlight for my two-year-old was seeing all the animals, so we spent a fair bit of time wandering around the stalls where the cows were kept. Seeing the men with their Akubra hats and moleskin pants and the women in checked shirts, I got a real sense that these families had been coming here to display their prize-winning bovines for generations. They had swags and eskies and it looked like a highlight on the cow cocky calendar.
Then there is the Sustainable Living Expo for the greenies, the Cock & Bull for the music fans and something in the main arena for the petrol heads and horsey people. It's a diverse and colourful community we live in and there's nothing else like the Show where we all get together and show off our best cream cakes and Rhode Island Reds (both literally and metaphorically).
I just wonder if there would be more people through the gate if you didn't have to re-mortgage the house to get in?