Show fun in the sun

Eric Rees and show president Brett Boatfield congratulate Maddie Burton on her role in officially opening the 2024 Stanthorpe Show. Picture: SAMANTHA WANTLING

By Jenel Hunt

With the temperature hovering just over 30 degrees on Friday and hot conditions continuing throughout the weekend, the Bendigo Bank Stanthorpe Show was all about sunscreen, sweat and fun in the sun.

Stanthorpe Agricultural Society president Brett Boatfield said it wasn’t the biggest show in the history of the event but was a brilliant show all the same.

“There’s no doubt some people stayed home to be close to their air-conditioning – especially on Friday because it was really hot. I think the heat prevented a few people from coming,“ he said.

But he said that even if the attendance numbers were average, the show was a scorcher in every way that counted.

People turned out to meet and greet friends, browse among top class handicrafts and exquisite baking, be entertained by bands and other live music, enjoy the roving entertainers and watch worthy adversaries showcasing their skills in exciting contests.

The biggest crowd pleaser was the fireworks, which was a light and sound bonanza above the main ring on Friday and Saturday nights.

The show was officially opened by one of Stanthorpe’s favourite locals, Maddy Burton.

“She delivered one of the best speeches ever – it was really from the heart,” said Mr Boatfield.

“The school captains from Stanthorpe State High School did the vote of thanks, which was a good experience for them too.”

A blue-ribbon part of the show was the opening of the mezzanine floor function area inside the Peter Bonner Exhibition Centre.

Mr Boatfield said it was Stanthorpe’s 148th show, making it one of the oldest established agricultural shows in the State as well as being the first on the Queensland circuit. The 2024 event marked his eighth show as president. He said his passion was not only to make the show great but also to ensure it was an attractive event for young people.

“The idea is to keep it going into the future and this year was all about encouraging young people,” he said.

“They’re the up-and-coming ones and we’ll need them to come onto the committees in time.”

Fairground entertainers including magicians were there to entertain for free, while the sideshow section was awash with fun rides.

Some favourites of this year’s show were the dinosaur show, the climbing wall, some smashing entertainment with rollover cars and the jumping dogs.

“The jumping dogs were more like a demo this year but we’re hoping we have more local support next year,” said Mr Boatfield.

The 11th Light Horse Darling Downs Troop display was a special highlight on Saturday afternoon as re-enactment riders took their mounts through some impressive drills.

Other horse features included galloway, hack and rider classes along with dressage and showjumping while horsepower of a different kind featured in the motorbike barrel racing.

Beef cattle, stud cattle, sheep sections ranging from wool to prime lambs, poultry showing and other sections including beautiful flowers in the horticulture section, fruit and vegetable exhibits were well represented. This year’s fruit wall display was won by St Joseph’s School.

Woodchop, crosscut and chainsaw events saw the chips and sawdust fly, racing pigs provided great entertainment and there were fashion parades, machinery displays and on Sunday a ute show along with sheepdog trials brought the show to a close.

Mr Boatfield said another positive this year was the increase in Stanthorpe Agricultural Society membership, with close to 1350 people being members at the time of the show.

“There are other advantages to being a member – it’s not just the Stanthorpe Show. People can use their membership for other events. We have reciprocal arrangements with the Allora, Warwick, Killarney and Tenterfield shows so our members can get into those shows for free.”

Once the show was over, it was time for the massive clean-up, and Mr Boatfield said he and others had done three days of work in the aftermath.

“It’s a good team. The sub-committees did a fantastic job. Every section puts on its own great event.”

But while the show is all wrapped up for another year, Mr Boatfield isn’t one for resting on his laurels.

“Now we can start planning for the next one,” he said.