FOSTER Showgrounds was the place to be last Saturday, when the Foster & District Agricultural Society presented the 107th Annual Foster & District Show. From agriculture to artwork, rides to rock’n’roll, there was lots to see and do, taste and hear, and organisers were thrilled with the success of the day, saying that attendance figures were up 20 per cent on last year.
A highlight of this year’s show was the Avenue of Agriculture – a chance to wander past stalls showcasing farming enterprises way beyond the run of the mill cattle and sheep. From beekeeping to goat farming, saffron growing to jam making, there was much to inspire anyone looking for an alternative income stream on their small acreage – and all from the local area. You could sample some of the produce, too, with delicious olives, preserves and other treats available for tasting and purchase.
“Some people said it was the best show ever because of the Avenue of Agriculture,” said show society president Noel Afflitto. “We had around a dozen stallholders this year and are hoping to build on that, perhaps have twice as many enterprises on exhibition next year – and have the Avenue in a more prominent position.”
Show secretary Denis O’Neill said the exhibitors on the Avenue had reported strong interest from the public in their enterprises and said they were looking forward to returning to the show next year.
After a light sprinkling of rain early in the day, the weather was fine and mild for most of Show Day, perfect conditions for wandering around and admiring all that was on offer.
“There was a good mixture of displays, everything from alpacas to farm machinery,” said the show secretary, nominating Marriotts’ beautiful Clydesdales his personal favourites.
Both the president and the secretary remarked on the high number of entries in the horse sections. The judges, said Mr Afflitto, had praised the high standard of entries in the cattle sections. He added that he wanted to pass on his best wishes to Bec Vuillermin, who was unfortunately kicked by one of her cattle and ended up in hospital.
There were so many entries in the sheep dog trials they ran for most of the day. Other sections also attracted plenty of entries, with the stadium a riot of colour with photos, children’s artwork, floral displays and much more, and the shed packed with home grown produce and homemade culinary delights, as well as exquisite needlework.
It was hard to find a seat in the grandstand to watch the events in the ring, with the dog high jump and the sheaf tossing particularly popular.
The show was officially opened by sheaf toss legend Leo Murphy, who has been coming to the show since 1954. Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan, who attended the show with his wife, Trish, then presented the Junior Show Ambassador award to local year 12 student Wade Wulms and congratulated runner-up Josie Harfield-Park.
Other winners on the day included Kayleigh Lyon of Morwell, who won Miss Petite, and Kobey Stokes (3 ½) of Dumbalk, who won Master Tot, while Samantha Morer (8) of Dumbalk was declared Miss Junior and Mackinley O;’Sullivan of Waratah North took out Miss Teenager.
The day was made even more special with the awarding of life membership of the show society to long-time show volunteer Max Parnell.
“The show would never get off the ground without all the volunteers who put in so much work each year – in the days leading up to the show, on show day and then cleaning up afterwards,” said Mr Afflitto. “I’d like to thank all the show society and service club members and members of the wider community who contribute. We couldn’t do it without them!”