Locals turned out in droves for the Beaudesert Show Society’s third try at their 125th anniversary show, creating new memories at the first local show since before the pandemic.
The iconic fixture on Beaudesert’s social calendar filled the showgrounds with the town’s youth, having the time of their lives and keeping the show tradition alive.
The Ag-Ed program fell a day early due to a pupil free day on the Friday, and then teenagers made the most of their Friday off school, boosting weekday numbers despite steady rain.
By Saturday, churned up, muddy grounds forced the cancellation of horse events, and the society threw open the gates for free to fill the grandstand and ringside for a reduced night program and encourage support for community groups volunteering their time at the show.
Beaudesert Show returns for 125th year
The highly anticipated return of the Beaudesert Show for its 125th anniversary brought joy to young and old and highlighted a local show movement well and truly still alive despite years of challenging circumstances.
There were generations of families keeping the nostalgia alive and courting young couples carrying giant soft toys won at sideshow alley; friends wearing novelty hats and small children twinkling with rainbow unicorn face paint; smiling volunteers fundraising for community groups and cheeky locals running amuck at the bar.
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Sashed Showgirls and Rural Ambassadors, finalists and entrants walked the grounds in jeans and Akubras by day and frocked up for their official duties in the main ring by night.
Talented locals entered their best work in sections like cookery and needlework, horticulture and photography, and local businesses set up to do trade at the show, with one stall unsurprisingly selling out of kids’ rubber gumboots.
Friday’s horse events showcased the work of experienced riders and young pony clubbers alike as redcoats kept a watchful eye on things under the leadership of new Horse Section Chief Steward Leonie Walsh, carrying on the legacy of outgoing steward Darren Uppington.
Crowds sat stoically under their umbrellas to watch the official opening on Friday night and the squelchy mud underfoot became the talk of the town by Saturday afternoon.
Ian Harrison, who has been Show President since before the turn of the century, beamed ear to ear in the pouring rain as he accepted a 125th anniversary plaque on behalf of the Society from Showmen’s Guild of Australasia Secretary Shelley Pink-Easey.
It helped that he was standing next to long-time mate and icon of every major agricultural show in Australia, Angus Lane OAM, who had agreed to be ring announcer at the milestone show one last time after his retirement.
Speaking to the Beaudesert Bulletin after the show had wrapped up, Mr Harrison said it was good to be back after years of disruptions, from floods to drought, bushfires and Covid cancellations.
He said while the wet conditions of 2022 weren’t ideal, he appreciated all the support for the show from patrons, volunteers, staff, stewards, sponsors, site holders, exhibitors and the local, state and federal funding for projects at the grounds and looked forward to 2023.