Warwick to put on a show of 150 years worth of pride
A WIN at the Warwick Agricultural Show is a matter of pride, not just for the victor but for family for generations to come.
Show chairman John Wilson said he had been overwhelmed by the amount of memorabilia uncovered as the show, Queensland's third oldest, prepares to celebrate its 150th year on March 24 to26.
"We have medallions and ribbons dating back to the late 1800s which people have kept," he said.
"Blokes in their 50s and 60s have awards their grandfathers won. Some are getting very old and fragile, but they really mean something to them ...They know exactly where they are, often still in pride of place."
John said it was that emotional attachment to the show and the volunteer spirit which kept it strong. That and the fact "it's a bloody good show!"
As part of the show's reminiscences, past showgirls, showgirl entrants and past chairmen are invited to the pavilion for the official opening on Friday.
While John said the show's focus had always been extremely local, this year community involvement is being emphasised even more, with the pavilion stage open to performances by as many community groups as possible.
"Shows have always been the cornerstone of rural life," John said, with "like-minded" people coming together to showcase what they have achieved and to reconnect socially. Often it's still the only time they will see each other until the next year.
"There's just so much happening at the show - new and old," John said. "It's the diversity people want to see. As the community changes, so does the show, but it's still very much our show and a reflection of our community at that time."
Friday is People's Day as usual, so admission for under-14s with an adult is free.
On Saturday, the Queensland State Country Jumping Championships will be held for the first time, and the show's new sponsor United Petroleum will be giving away six draws of $150 worth of fuel throughout the day, culminating in a $1500 draw that night.
Warwick Artists Group president Sue Keong is a big believer in the importance of the show to the community. Always involved, the artists' group this year has amped up its part, with $1500 in prizes on offer across all mediums from paint to fabric and metal, as well as a special wearable art competition and parade.
"We're so busy these days rushing around, but this is still a small country town and sometimes it's only at something like the show that we really shine a light on what people are doing and can see just how wonderful it is to live on the land," she said.
"If you look back, the show was always a chance to bring your best and brightest together, to share ideas and improve your livestock, your practices or your cooking and craft. There's still a bit of that component of showing off, but it's also about supporting those things and each other.
"It's about real people sharing their stories."
Call the show office on 4661 9060 or go to http://warwickshowandrodeo.com.au.