CLEVER dogs leaping logs and shifting sheep; first-class home produce, cooking and handcrafts; shiny tractors; farmyard chooks; horse-drawn cart rides, and woodchop action – time-honoured favourites like these combined to make the 115th Foster Show a real crowd-pleaser.
Almost 3000 people gathered at the Foster Showgrounds on Saturday February 25, 2023 to enjoy every aspect of what Foster and District Agricultural Society Inc. secretary Denia Gilheany said was “a successful show with something for everyone.
“We’ve been receiving a lot of comments about this year’s Foster Show being a traditional agricultural show, which is really nice to hear,” she said.
“The Society members are so proud to see such a full exhibit shed, and to have lots of local families getting involved in the different competitions across the entire show program.
“We want people to feel comfortable being part of the Foster Show and for them to ‘have a go’, and this year that seems to be exactly what’s happening.
“As well as in the exhibit shed and stadium sections, the entries in our poultry, photography and on-farm challenge classes were up on previous years, and the working dog trial has been expanded to include a class for local dogs and their owners.
“It was wonderful to have the stadium available to us again this year, and now the building has been redeveloped, we’ll have to make a plan on how to use the space even better at future shows,” Mrs Gilheany said.
“It was great to see the number of entries in the creative art section, and this has been the first year we’ve had an open class for adults, alongside the children’s, senior citizens’ and our Inclusive Communities ‘all-abilities’ classes.
“The Society’s new show logo design competition attracted some really good ideas and we’ll be choosing the winner at our next committee meeting in March,” she said
“We’re also looking forward to having the use of a revamped oval next year, and the Foster Show’s horse sections returning to the Showgrounds to compete on what we know will be an immaculate and manicured grass surface.
“We appreciate the support of the Bennison Recreation Reserve committee of management and associated community groups in helping us to stage the 2023 horse events at the Reserve,” Mrs Gilheany said.
“We believe the Foster Show is dynamic; it evolves and changes, and we’re happy for it to adjust to what people want.
“We encourage people to get involved in the Show, and to let us know what they would like to see, and how we can improve things even more.
“We urge people of all ages to take an active part in future shows, either on the day as an entrant or a spectator, as a volunteer before, during and after each show, and even as a member of the Agricultural Society.
“It was marvellous to see the number of Society members in their green shirts all around the Showgrounds on Show Day, ready to guide and assist entrants and visitors,” she said.
“We want to thank everyone who helped pull this year’s Foster Show together, including our many generous sponsors, donors, supporters and patrons; our team of wonderful volunteers; our exhibitors, entertainers and stallholders, our competitors and, of course, the show-going public.
“We’re already thinking about next year’s Foster Show,” Mrs Gilheany said.
“One thing we’ll be looking at is a way of providing information to prospective entrants on how best to present their exhibits in the various classes, such as fresh vegetables or preserves, so that everyone is competing on a level playing field.”
Two new Life Members
Foster and District Agricultural Society Inc. president Noel Afflitto awarded two “thoroughly deserved” life memberships on Foster Show Day, Saturday February 25, to former Society secretary Kate Crowl, and to long-term gatekeeper Harry Kemper.
“These two people thoroughly deserve to be made life members of this Society, for their unflagging interest and for their service over many years,” Mr Afflitto told The Mirror.
“Kate grew up in Foster, and was a regular exhibitor at the Foster Show,” he said.
“She lived on the Mornington Peninsula after her marriage and was a member of the Red Hill Show committee and, after returning to live in Foster during the 1990s, she served as our Society’s secretary for several years.
“During that period, Kate was integral to reinvigorating the Foster Show and getting it back on to steadier feet, and she is still an active ‘doer’, volunteer and exhibitor, today,” Mr Afflitto said.
“Harry has been working on the gate at the Foster Show virtually every year for the past 50 years, as well as volunteering around the show and the showgrounds for a very long time,” he said.
“He is what we call a self-starter who doesn’t so much ask ‘what can I do!?’ but instead says, ‘how about we do this, and this is how we’ll do it’.”
Mr Afflitto also paid tribute to the Foster Show’s 2022 Rural Ambassador Alex Pattinson, who went on to win at Gippsland region and State level last year, and congratulated Sammy Spark who received the 2023 Rural Ambassador award at Foster.
“It’s energetic and dedicated people like these four who contribute so much towards the success of the Foster Show,” he said.
“The Society has a really diverse membership, and our committee has bucked the trend of a lot of other country show societies, in that our membership is growing rather than declining.
“Together with the support of the Corner Inlet district community, local and Gippsland region businesses, and all levels of government, the members are part of the reason why the Foster Show continues to thrive,” he said.
“There is a bright and exciting future ahead.”