THE fierce heat last Saturday kept gate numbers down at the Foster Show, but organisers say a good crowd turned up to the showgrounds and, by all appearances, had a wonderful time. There was plenty to enjoy indoors or in the shade, so show patrons did not have to brave the blazing sun all the time. Still, icecreams, gelati and drinks proved much more popular than the hot foods.
“I’d like to thank all the stewards and judges for their hard work in often trying conditions,” said show secretary Denis O’Neill. “I think the show went very well. There was lots to see and do – and I for one thoroughly enjoyed it, with the vintage tractors, pigs and animal nursery being particular highlights.”
The success of the show, he said, was very much down to the team effort of the many volunteers who prepared for it in the weeks leading up to the show, worked there on the day and then cleaned up afterwards.
Agricultural Society President Noel Afflitto, Treasurer Amanda Afflitto and Assistant Secretary Darren Lomax were some of the hardest workers behind the scenes, but they were well assisted by an army of volunteers.
Noel said the helpers are too numerous to name, but he paid especial tribute to Lloyd McKenzie, who organised the volunteers on the gates and Tony Williams, who will be assisting with the rehabilitation of the Foster Football Club oval now the horses have departed.
“The show was well attended considering the heat,” said the show president. “I’d like to thank our major sponsors, as well as all those people who did come along despite the hot day and everyone who contributed entries. There were lots of horses, the exhibit shed and pavilion were packed and we even had some dairy cattle this year, thanks to Williams of Sandy Point. I understand there will be more next year.”
The show society was honoured to have distinguished botanical artist Celia Rosser officially open the 105th Annual Foster & District Show. Internationally renowned for her work with Banksias, the artist lives at Fish Creek, where her son Andrew runs the Celia Rosser Gallery and Banksia Café. In recent years she has become a popular and active member of the local community.
The official opening took place at 12 noon in front of the grandstand. The tiered seating was filled to capacity for much of the day, partly no doubt because it offered relief from the blazing sun, but also because of the variety of events staged in front of the grandstand. Announcer Owen Kindellan kept the crowd well entertained with the running of the Landmark Dog High Jump. The gumboot throwing competition followed, a great hit with the kids, while nearby the sheaf tossers literally sweated out in a spectacular contest. Elsewhere, Paul Macphail and his kelpies rounding up sheep provided another great sight.
For the first time for many years, pigs were back at the show. ‘Pork chop’ and his companions proved very popular, and show organisers expect the pig section to go from strength to strength in future years. As always, there were lots of horses, a splendid array of poultry, the fluffiest ones looking decidedly hot, and some magnificent specimens of beef cattle.
The dog parade is always popular. For the last eight years ‘Sultan’ has won the Champion Chewer section. He sadly passed away during the year, so in his honour the section was titled the ‘Sultan Cup.’ It was won by ‘Bosley,’ owned by Sophie.
Black Snake Productions with their display of snakes and other creatures had been much anticipated. Unfortunately they got the date wrong, only realising their mistake at the last minute, but they have promised to be at next year’s show. The City of Casey Pipe Band did turn up and, woollen kilts and all, valiantly carried out roving performances in the stifling heat.
Schools and individuals went to great trouble to prepare entries for the various sections of competition at the show. As a result, the pavilion had a wonderful display of everything from weird vegetable creations to wired craft constructions, as well as paintings, handwriting, masks and more. The number of entries in the photography section was slightly down on last year, but the quality, said Foster Photography Club members Gloria and Keith Haycroft, was excellent. “It keeps getting better every year.”
An amazing array of vegetables, flowers, craft and preserves filled the exhibit shed, all beautifully arranged by the stewards responsible. Big winners were Phyllis Barlow, who won the Mary McDonald Memorial Trophy for amassing the most points in sections ranging from Home Produce to Craft and Knitting, and Deb Connell, who won the Stockyard Gallery Prize for the most creative exhibition in the craft sections.
Another big winner was Paul Saulwick, who won the lucky gate prize of $200 from the local community bank branches of the Bendigo Bank, major show sponsors, while Alyssa Landers was one of 150 people to fill out a community health survey at the South Gippsland Hospital Community Health Centre stand and was lucky enough to win the $100 prize. Health promotions officer Paul Greco and a band of helpers were kept busy at the stand, handing out tubs of delicious barbecued vegetables and bottles of water donated by South Gippsland Water.
“Altogether it was a great day,” said the show president. “We’d like to thank our major sponsors. The show society will be meeting at 8pm on March 20 – the third Tuesday of the month. We’ll be talking about this year’s show and starting to plan next year’s. We’re already looking forward to it – just hoping for milder weather! Anyone who would like to be involved is most welcome to come along.”