When the Show comes to town…

Cover of When Country Comes to TownI’d better confess upfront: I have never been to the Show. This probably disqualifies me immediately as a true Cantabrian.

To make sure, I took Roberta’s Pineapple Lumps Kiwiana challenges. The result? Well, let’s just say that I won’t be too surprised if, in the next few days, a friendly immigration officer knocks on my door, demanding to inspect my New Zealand passport…

Since I haven’t been to the Show myself, it may seem a tad disingenuous of me to be recommending that you do head to Canterbury Agricultural Park tomorrow. In my defense, I have wanted to go many a time and would be first at the gate this year if walking wasn’t a bit of a mission for me.

So why should you go? Well, as the events schedule demonstrates, you’d be missing out on lots of fun if you didn’t.

With over 3000 animals competing for Best in Show, you can enjoy the company of horses, sheep, cattle, alpacas, llamas, pigs, goats, donkeys and poultry. The kids (and the kids at heart) can visit the petting area to interact with lambs, calves, puppies, ducklings, chickens and other adorable baby animals. There will be shearing and woodchopping demos, parades and races.

Photograph of Bull parade, Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Show, Christchurch (c.1950)
Bull parade, Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Show, Christchurch (c. 1950)
Christchurch City Libraries Archive collection CCL-Arch978-1-007

If animals are not enough of an attraction for you, keep in mind that the Show also features gourmet food and wine, cooking demonstrations, live music, comedians, a Ferris Wheel and a lolly scramble with a difference (spoiler alert: the lollies are shot from a cannon into the crowd).

And of course, by going to the Show you continue a proud history. The Show has been a Canterbury institution since 1862 and Christchurch Show Day is also a public holiday in Canterbury, celebrating our region’s official anniversary. Check out the following resources to see snapshots of the Show over the years:

So wear your Cantabrian badge with pride at the Show and pet a duckling and a lamb or two for me. And, if you do go, please do share your highlights in the comments section below so that I can enjoy the day vicariously!

All the fun of the fair

Grand Parade, A&P Show“Mum, can we pleeeeeease go to the Show?” my ten year old pleaded, batting her big eyes.

What could I say? Getting up at the crack of dawn to pack a bag with sunblock, polar fleeces, loose change and ham sandwiches and drive across paddocks to join the throng is part of our family culture. The Canterbury Agriculture and Pastoral Association has held a Show Day every year since 1862 and there is no way we’d let a few (thousand) earthquakes get in the way of it this year. Of course we’ll go!

We’ll get there early to beat the crowds. My ten year old’s looking forward to candyfloss and the Ferris wheel, while my teen wants to meet up with friends and look around the market stalls.

I’m taking a sunhat and a deckchair so I can watch the equestrian events in comfort with a nice glass of chardonnay in one hand and a whitebait fritter in the other. And I’m going to visit the Christchurch City Libraries’ stall in the Christchurch City Council tent to record my earthquake story and pick up a free bookmark.

Special days, special memories, don’t you reckon?