If you’re in, or near, Brisbane between 7 – 16 August, you’re in for a treat. Why? You’ll have the chance to visit ‘Ekka’, Queensland’s annual agricultural show. It was originally called the ‘Brisbane Exhibition’ (of which Ekka is an abbreviation) when it started way back in 1876.
Today, Ekka is the state’s largest annual event and regularly attracts more than 400,000 visitors. Run by the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland, it aims to showcase all the best of the region’s produce and livestock, while at the same time providing a fun and educational day out for the whole family.
Here’s our guide to what will be on offer:
Prepare to have a taste of Hollywood’s ‘Jurassic World’ with the show’s very own Dinosaur Adventure. Don your scientist’s white coat and glasses before taking part in a fossil dig, all the time surrounded by the moving Triassic beasts themselves.
Expect some X-treme Action as The Transformers take over the Energex Community Arena. Watch as the renowned Bumblebee and Optimus Prime transform into Monster Trucks and V8 Utes before your very eyes. There will be flares and explosions, as well as plenty of thrills and spills.
At its heart Ekka is a country show so, as is only right, there’s the chance to see the best breeders from across the nation competing in 42 sections across 11,000 classes, ranging from ‘Stud Beef’ cattle to ‘Boer Goats’.
Domestic animals aren’t left out either – there are dog and cat competitions, sheep dog trials, show-jumping events, and much more.
There are also other contests celebrating the diversity of arts, crafts and ingenuity that Queensland has to offer, including stunning quilt-making, painting and drawing, photography, jam and preserve-making, sculptures, and many other creative endeavours.
Check out the Ekka website and you may find a category that you want to enter in advance.
Is someone in your family a budding news hound? Why not see if they can win a place on Ekka’s Show Camp, where 20 Queensland students from year six are selected and then helped to become roving reporters for the duration of the show, learning about planning, researching, writing, recording and editing electronic media.
Or, if you’re a teacher, how about working with one of your classes for the School Garden competition. This year’s theme is ‘from garden into the kitchen’ where students are encouraged to work together to grow a vegetable or herb garden in a wheelbarrow or similar receptacle. There are first, second and third prizes to be won.
You’ll also find cheese-making workshops; rural discovery days, where kids get to milk cows, sow seeds and sample produce to learn about how their food gets from field or paddock to plate; and a Ekka learning trail.
Fashion and music
There’s a chance to celebrate all that is great about the Australian textile and fashion industries with zany floorshows by Queensland’s top designers, complete with great make-up and hairstyling. And, for the even more adventurous, 15 of Ekka’s artists take on the challenge to recycle clothingitems and come up with a ‘gardens inspired’ collection.
Music lovers are in for a treat too, with live performances from country music legend James Blundell, plus other Aussie stars including Samantha Jade, Bonnie Anderson and Australian Idol winner Stan Walker.
As yet unsigned talent will also have a chance to shine in Ekka’s Country Music Showdown Competition. The junior winner will receive a Music Scholarship at the Tamworth Academy of Country Music, with a recording session in a professional studio as the prize for the open section.
Don’t worry, you’re certainly not going to go starve at Ekka. First, take in the huge number of displays and demonstrations on The Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show Cooking Stage. Led by talented chef Dominique Rizzo, you’ll be able to attend a ‘cooking with cheese class’ and a ‘wine and cider masterclass’, with samples provided.
The Queensland Country Women’s Association will be baking up a storm, and JBS Australia and the Australian Meat Industry Council will show you how to butcher your meats, as well as provide information about how to get the most out of different cuts of pork and lamb.
And, once you’ve stopped watching, start eating! There are a variety of restaurants and food stands including the luxury ‘Gourmet Plaza’, a ‘Steakhouse Restaurant’, a ‘Seafood Bar’ and street food offerings including Dagwood dogs, doughnuts, sausages and pulled pork rolls and kebabs from vans across the showground.
Roll-up, roll-up. The Sideshow Alley really does offer all the fun of the fair with Bungy jumping, Dodgem cars, a Haunted house, Jungle adventure, a giant Expo wheel and lots more. There’s also a 9-D Cinema (yes – the cinema of the future) that allows you to smell and touch as well as see and hear.
With so much on offer, Ekka is guaranteed to be a great day out for all ages. For detailed information about what’s on each day, visit the Exhibition’s website.