Queensland Show Awards reveal innovate event nominations

Lucy Kinbacher
By Lucy Kinbacher
March 11 2022 - 5:00am
Free rides, smokin' BBQs: Inside Qld's most innovative shows

Now more than ever show societies have been forced to find new and innovate ways to ensure their events remain a calendar highlight for their communities.

Offering free rides and funding 40 metre murals are just some of the innovate ideas adopted by shows across the state.

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The Queensland Show Awards' Best Innovation in a Local Event title recognises everything from a new entertainment item, social media campaigns, data gathering and registration services or COVID-19 adaptations.

A winner and runner up will be awarded at a presentation evening in Cairns on March 19.

Tomorrow Queensland Country Life will share the nominations for Outstanding Individual Contribution.

Ag-Venture - Cairns Show

Free rides, smokin' BBQs: Inside Qld's most innovative shows

2021 saw the Cairns Show prime cattle competition move from the showgrounds to the Mareeba saleyards.

Rather than waste the vacant facility, the Ag-Venture display was created to educate students and locals on healthy soils and why they were important for farming's future.

The disused prime cattle yards were transformed into an attractive and informative display containing oil seed crops and crops used in fallow cropping practices and visitors could feel and touch the crops.

The public entry point to the cattle yards was used and a trafficable circuit was devised to draw the public around the alleyways through the plantings and to observe a cold pressed oil machine in operation creating edible oil from soya beans.

Several gates were removed for unrestricted viewing to crops including sunflowers, buckwheat, sunnhemp, blackrice, mustard, velvet bean, cowpea, black rice, camelina, sesame and nigella.

A competition box for a questionnaire was located with the winner received a family pass to the show.

Many visitors to the display had never seen some of these crops and all left with a better understanding of the local agricultural industries.

All Inclusive Show - Atherton Show Society

Free rides, smokin' BBQs: Inside Qld's most innovative shows

In 2017 the show introduced an all abilities section and classes for people with an intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive or psychosocial disability acquired through illness, accident or the ageing process.

In addition, with the support of trade stall holders and the Showmens Guild, the show hosts sensory hours for the first three hours on the Monday to improve accessibility for all with reduced gate entry prices.

On average 200 patrons choose to access this experience and all come out feeling positive and expressing their delight in the activity.

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The show also welcomes contribution from people across all abilities including DJ Taylor and Matthew, who is a weekly contributor and volunteer.

Artisan Tent - Childers Show

Free rides, smokin' BBQs: Inside Qld's most innovative shows

The 2021 Childers Show featured the first Artisan Tent; a bespoke collective of creative local women who set up shop on the grounds.

The Artisan Tent offered local creatives an avenue to market and sell their wares to the community in a family friendly environment without the requirement and cost burden of arranging a stand alone trade site and tent.

The Artisan Tent also enabled these small micro businesses greater visibility by being highlighted in a designated area of the show.

It was considered by the Childers Show to be a success and will return in 2022.

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Free Rides - Esk Show

Free rides, smokin' BBQs: Inside Qld's most innovative shows

The issue of rides saw the management committee unanimously decide to supply free rides to the patrons of the show.

They set a budget, chose a variety of rides and began promoting.

The gate attendance exceeded 5000, which was the highest gate attendance in the history of the Esk Show and attracted patrons from as far away as the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Brisbane.

Having the free rides increased gate takings, which in return paid for the hire of the rides, and annual membership also rose by about 63 per cent.

It will be an innovation that the Esk Show Society will continue each year.

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Education Program - Mudgeeraba Show

Free rides, smokin' BBQs: Inside Qld's most innovative shows

After missing the signature annual event, the Mudgeeraba Show Society management committee was looking to develop an exciting innovative drawcard to reinvigorate the community and showcase their heritage.

The Education Program was a full days' worth of multi-faceted timetabled displays, informative sessions hosted by experts and visitors could plan their day around interactive shows as a 'value add' to their entry.

As part of the marketing and promotion of the event, they sent invitations and schedules to the principals of local schools, home schooling organisations, preschool groups and senior care facilities and residents.

The final program content was varied and had appeal to a broad audience. It balanced the new with the old and revealed the extent and depth of our history and heritage.

Sessions included the Gold Coast Light Horse Education Museum, the Gold Coast Spinners and Weavers, miniature goat breeders and professional farriers.

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Families welcomed the fact that the depth of entertainment and free of charge inclusions in their ticket provided them with true value add and the prospect of discovering a new appreciation for farmers.

Murals by Heesco - Crows Nest Show

Free rides, smokin' BBQs: Inside Qld's most innovative shows

Crows Nest is now home to a giant mural spanning 40 metres of the pavilion.

For artist Mongolian-born artist Heesco, it's his first Queensland mural commission and features a grand champion ribbon and images of agricultural and horticultural industries.

The month-long project concluded in February and attracted 100 caravanners and 30 car travellers daily along with events like Markets by the Mural, an outdoor movie night and Picnics by the Murals.

It has created a real connection for the local community to the show and showgrounds and a sustainable attraction of street art.

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Producers Long Lunch - Toowoomba Royal Show

The Producers Long Lunch aimed to highlight the quality food and fibre produced in the Darling Downs region whilst connecting the community with local producers and agricultural specialists.

The free event was held each day of the show with approximately 180 people attending across the three days with all produce for the lunch either grown on the showgrounds or produced locally on the Darling Downs.

A seating plan allowed each family to be seated next to a producer or agricultural industry specialist which encouraged a conversation about farming practices and food production.

Scarecrow Competition - Quilpie & District Show

Free rides, smokin' BBQs: Inside Qld's most innovative shows

Quilpie's annual show scarecrow competition is believed to be the longest running in Australia.

The 2020 competition went ahead with a 'virtual show' and was hotly contested with more than 30 scarecrows registered.

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President Dannielle Stevenson commented that "the feedback received from tourists and anyone visiting was that they hadn't seen anything like it before, it brought to light how unique the competition was".

The scarecrows drew attention across Queensland and were notably included in articles and broadcasts by ABC, Queensland Country Life and Channel 9.

Smokin' the Downs - Oakey Show Society

Free rides, smokin' BBQs: Inside Qld's most innovative shows

Oakey Show made a competition out of the art of smoking in 2021 and drew enthusiasts from as far as New South Wales and Victoria to both compete and enjoy the local show, which was run concurrently.

The inaugural event saw more than 30 teams (drawing more than 150 competitors and supporters).

For many attendees it was their first experience at an agricultural show and many commented that it was an experience they thoroughly enjoyed.

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The event also showcased local products, with competitors using Oakey Beef's Angus Reserve in a brisket competition.

The event will continue into 2022.

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Lucy Kinbacher

Lucy Kinbacher

Editor - Queensland Country Life/North Queensland Register

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