Amid the cancellations of numerous agricultural events in 2020 and more already announced for 2021, the southern Queensland town of Stanthorpe bucked the trend by holding its 145th annual show this weekend.
- Stanthorpe Show organisers say they’ve held the first full event of its kind under pandemic conditions
- Restrictions forced the cancellation of most shows on the 2020 calendar
- Travelling show workers said being back on the road for the first time in 10 months was an emotional experience
COVID-19 inspectors patrolled in pairs and an announcer warned patrons against breaching the event’s safety plan.
Through tears, travelling show worker Natasha Nilon said it felt “absolutely fantastic” to be back on the road after ten months.
“We’re all that emotional about it,” she said.
“We’re family, we all grew up together — I’m fifth generation since our [show] guild was formed.
Keeping it simple
Stanthorpe Show Society president Brett Boatfield said the committee had put together a full program but opted not to overcomplicate matters in its effort to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.
“The three elements are QR coding on entry, keep track of your patrons, your physical distancing and your sanitising and hygiene,” he said.
“So that’s what we focused on, we wrote a procedures document and it’s pretty simple, to be honest with you.”
Mr Boatfield said the Stanthorpe Show Society was the first show of the year and could be an example for events that follow.
“We always are the first one in Queensland, we set the standard and we were happy to do that especially in 2021 with the COVID standard,” he said.
The record number of entries pointed to a community desperate to come together and put 2020 behind it.
“Our exhibitors are coming out in droves because they haven’t had a show,” Mr Boatfield said.
Ringmaster Teena Wilcock said the competitors performed well, despite the long break from competition, “especially in the show jumping”.
“We’ve got a big show jumping program, with competitors coming from a big geographical area and the competition is very strong,” she said.