ALL is in readiness at Foster Showgrounds for the 108th Annual Foster and District Show, due to take place this Saturday, February 28.
Show secretary Denis O’Neill said that patrons can expect a show packed with variety, thanks to generous sponsorship from businesses and lots of hard work on the part of volunteers.
“Cuddle a snake, admire the donkeys, pat an angora rabbit, observe the trout darting in and out, have a coffee in the hall, wear a funny balloon hat, hop on a vintage tractor…There’s a whole world of wondrous adventure to be had,” he promised.
Appropriately enough, Victorian Rural Woman of the Year Julie Aldous will do the honours to officially open the show. A beef producer and school teacher from Victoria’s northeast, Ms Aldous is passionate about helping young people identify and embrace career opportunities in primary production. She is responsible for developing an agribusiness course for students at Mansfield Secondary College which has become a pathway to a career in agriculture. She believes the concept is easily transferrable to other schools.
From donkeys to ducks, horses to hens, there’ll be a veritable Noah’s Ark of animals on display at this year’s show. There’ll even be snakes, with Mike Alexander back by popular demand with his demonstrations and talks on venomous and non-venomous snakes.
The working dog yard trials, the dog high jump and the sheaf tossing events are perennial favourites with all ages, but there’ll be lots more to see and do. Here’s a taste: shearing demonstrations every hour from 10am; calligraphy demonstrations in the hall from 10am; and floral arranging with Ari Bos from 1 to 2pm in the hall. Alex Shaw from the local secondary college will demonstrate body art during the day, and wool spinning by the Foster Wool Group will be demonstrated at the Robbie Allan Shed.
Children will be well catered for, with plenty of free activities as well as funfair rides (jumping castle, dodgem cars, the Claw, to name a few) and showbags. They can try their luck at gumboot throwing, the knitting nancy or the bucking bronco, enter a pet in fancy dress in the dog parade or cuddle a creature in the pet nursery (for a gold coin donation).
Also of interest to children – and fond parents and grandparents – will be the South Gippsland Hospital Auxiliary’s raffle. First prize is a magnificent cubby house valued at $1900. The show will be the first opportunity to purchase tickets in this raffle to be drawn on April 5. The auxiliary will be selling tickets in the main stadium, near where they sell their delicious refreshments. All profits go to the local hospital.
Meanwhile, the exhibit shed will be bursting with fresh garden produce, cakes, jams, preserves, homemade wine and beers. The dahlias, roses and pot plants are bound to be a riot of colour and variety. Check out who’s a winner – it might be you!
The range of agribusinesses in the Avenue of Agriculture continues to expand, providing inspiration for anyone looking to start their own business and a fascinating glimpse of what can be achieved with imagination and effort. Look out for Amber Park pork, rabbits for meat production and angora wool, unique jams and preserves, live and smoked trout on sale from the Alpine Trout Farm, olive growing, Strzelecki mountain pepper, angora goats, bee keeping and more.
After the Show Girl and Master Tot competition at 11am, McCracken’s Band will perform brackets of folk, old time, bluegrass and country music on the stage from 12 to 2 pm. The competition to find Foster Show Idol will begin at 1pm.
“We have a grand parade, which a lot of shows do not have anymore. Because it’s smaller, people can come and see everything together,” said Mr O’Neill. “The grand parade tops the show off, showcasing winners with their colourful sashes and ribbons, ably led by the vintage tractors.”
Perhaps a day at the show will inspire you to put your hand up to help at next year’s show. That would please the show society no end.
“We’re always looking for more volunteers, especially young ones who can take over from the ‘Old Guard,’” said Mr O’Neill. “Volunteers are the lifeblood of our show. We’re indebted to the time they put in on the day and in the weeks and months prior to Show Day.”
Mr O’Neill said special thanks are due to Prue Fleming and Alayne Mckenzie, who looked after the children’s section at Foster Show for so many years. It will be going ahead again this year, but with new volunteers at the helm.
The show will run all day Saturday. A family ticket costs $20, adults (non-members) $10, concession $4, children under 16 years $1. As they generously do every year, the Bendigo Community Bank will be sponsoring a $200 gate entry prize. Put your entries in the box inside the stadium for your chance to win.