Show works to be uniquely relevant to all ages
TIMES have changed since the agricultural show was the social event on the Central Coast calendar.
But a small team of volunteer enthusiasts, in the form of the Gosford Showground Trust and Show Committee, headed by chairperson Roma Stonestreet, has managed to revive the show and its traditions and keep it not just alive but vibrant, and relevant to a new generation.
The Central Coast Regional Show is on again on the weekend of April 14 and 15, 130 years after the first show was held in 1888.
"The show is a unique event in that it encompasses so many different interests and ages," Roma said.
"It's still part of the agricultural show circuit, so ribbons count towards the Sydney Royal Easter Show, and people still love to display their cooking, baking, art, craft, flowers and produce."
There's also sections for birds and poultry, pets, school farm animals and horse events (the latter section so big it's run the Sunday before the show), and the traditional Junior and Teen Showgirl.
But these days, Roma said, it's also "a very busy show" outside the traditional events, with two stages of entertainment including headliners the Memphis Movers and Paul Costa, a fireworks display on Saturday and the Highland Muscle Strong Man Games on Sunday.
There's also special appearances by the Flipping Disc Dogs, circus fun with Circaholics, Moovin' Balloonin's crazy cars and balloon creations for kids, a pet parade and a stunning display of competition skills, including barrels and flags by the Central Coast Sporting Horse Association.
And, of course, there's sideshow alley, fairground and pony rides, dodgems and showbags, as well as club displays such as the Historic Car Club.
Roma, who has lived on the Central Coast for about 70 years, said the show used to extend over four days and was cause for a public holiday in Gosford.
But as times have changed, shows throughout Australia have had to change to survive.
Last year, the Central Coast Regional Show attracted about 7000 people, and Roma is hoping for a similar or larger turnout this year, after nine months of planning.
"The Showground Trust is a small team of about five, but we have people we call on for assistance and we're doing it for the community," Roma said.
"That's what we're there for to use and promote the showgrounds as much as possible for the benefit of the community, and the regional show is an important part of that."
Roma said with showgrounds in other areas being sold off, it was vital that the grounds continued to be used and that, as society members grew older, younger people became involved and gave the event "a path going forward".
"So many traditional things have gone from the area ..." Roma said.
"Our challenge is to bring something different to other events held on the Coast, and try to have something happening all the time which will appeal to different age groups, and I think we've done that."
For more show and ticket details, go to www.centralcoastregionalshow.com.au.