There are lots of things to do at the Ekka – the annual agricultural exhibition held in Brisbane in mid-August. The Ekka runs for 10 days, in 2017 this is from 11th – 20th August and there’s a tightly packed programme. We did a whole day reconnaissance to identify the best there is to see. We probably missed quite a bit, so we’re going back again to find those as well. If you’re in Brisbane during this period, the Ekka is a Must Visit!
Things to do at the Ekka
You can find a country show almost any weekend, somewhere in each state of Australia. You’ll always find the same basic ‘ingredients’ :
- Farm produce
- Sideshow alley
- Cattle auctions
- and plenty of competitions for country people to show off their skills, produce or animals.
The Ekka is the Queensland version of the State-wide shows held across Australia.
The animals need a whole story on their own, but you can see Cattle – dairy and beef, horses of all kinds, sheep, goats, even cats and dogs. The animals being ‘shown’ in competition are really well looked after so they are presented at their best.
You can select the animals you’d like to see during judging from this useful list. For General information on the animals at the Ekka, you can also link to the competitions from here. Watch for our coming story about more of the animals at the Ella.
One of the icons of the Ekka is probably the Dagwood Dog. It’s basically a battered hot dog on a stick, dipped in tomato or barbeque sauce. With mustard, if you like. There is no way you can take a photo of a Dagwood dog that is suitable for a family audience. Go and try one for yourself. This year they are selling for AUD 6. There are ice creams and strawberries galore, and street food from round the world. You’re spoilt for choice at the Ekka.
If you just want a good cuppa (tea or coffee) and a scone or a ‘real’ hamburger, drop by the CWA room in the corridor behind the Main Grandstand. They also have ‘real’ hamburgers, freshly made sandwiches and the iconic Queensland lamington.
Things for kids of all ages
If you’d like to see a dromedary, or discover the difference between a lama and an alpaca, head for the Animal Boulevard. There are animals for petting – a great way to introduce young children to different animals.
Showbags – some people go for the Showbags! They’re bags with samples of the particular product normally produced by the company. You can get themed Showbags – Star Wars seemed rather popular this year! The magazine showbags were also popular, they often come in a reusable bag. Prices vary, but do calculate to make sure you are actually getting a good deal. Do you really want all the inclusions?
Sideshow Alley stays open until late every evening. It’s noisy, fun and usually packed with people wanting to try out the newest thrilling ride, or try a game of skill to win a large soft toy.
Showing off country skills in competition
Horses have always been an important part of Australian country life. They’re used to muster sheep and cattle and a stockwhip is an important part of the stockman’s equipment. As a result, their skills at handling the whip developed with stockmen (and women) coming up with routines using one or multiple whips for entertanment. The competition in the Stockwhip Challenge is intense, and the tricks they can perform may leave you open mouthed.
Woodchopping is a skill developed from pioneering days when settlers needed to fell trees to clear the land for stock and crops. They used a lot of the timber to make fence posts to keep the stock safe. The Woodchopping area is tucked away at the northern side of the showgrounds, near the Showbag Pavilion.
We had a chat with John Cotter, Council Steward of the Woodchopping events and asked him a little about the different events. He also spoke about his badge and corsage. See the tiny axe hanging below the main section? Make a point of seeing the Woodchopping – it’s definitely worth your while.