Are your entries ready for the Gympie Show?
SCHEDULES are being mailed out this month as entries open for most sections of the annual Gympie Show.
The three-day show is still almost two months away on May 14-16, but in order to process the high number of entries, sections open their competitions in March.
Chief cooking steward Anne Long is one of the many volunteers who have been putting in lengthy hours to get the show to this point.
Show administrator Vickie McEnery refers to her as her "right-hand man", but you won't find Anne making any wild claims like that.
She has certainly pulled her fair share of all-nighters, working with the team to get the show 'on the road', but she would rather hide than claim recognition for her work.
Anne began helping with the Showgirl quest many years ago, but officially recognises her current stint of volunteering as beginning around 1985.
"I have been here quite some time," she grudgingly admits, but she says it really has become part of her life.
"I was helping Iris Wolski when she was chief cooking steward, and then she talked me into taking over from her," Anne said.
"Now I still hold that role, and I am also pavilion delegate to the management committee of the show -- there are only two women in that role," she said.
"But the show is your local 'thing' -- we have cattle and grow crops on our property and we just want to be involved."
It's easy for people to underestimate how much work goes into presenting the Gympie Show, which has many faces depending on your interest: cattle, machinery, caged birds, horticulture, dogs.
Anne has been known to miss a complete section during Show Week because she could get tied up doing other things.
In the cooking section she can catalogue between 600 and 700 entries. She has 112 classes from cake decorating (her personal passion) through to junior cooking, sweets and fancy work.
Interest in growing in popular hobbies like scrapbooking and card making, but some of the other sections are losing support. In fact in preserves there is now only one Gympie entrant.
Anne's personal favourite is flowers and "who wouldn't love them," she asked.
But it's a challenging section, like that of the cake decorators, where changes in weather can have a dramatic effect on the results -- and the judges' comments.
Anne is the current president of the Gympie Branch of the Queensland Cake Decorators Association and has been playing with icing since she was a child.
"Oh I have competed at State level and I have won ribbons there as well as Prizes and Championships at Gympie," she quickly admits, but she is more interested in announcing that there could be 20-30 decorated cakes on show at Gympie this year, with renewed interest from local secondary students.
"Competition is good for you," she acknowledges, "You might think your cake looks fine at home, but when you see it cut and compared alongside a few others, you can soon tell how good it is!"
She tells the story of how she baked a dozen sponge cakes one year before she created one which would satisfy her own high standards.
"I ended up winning that class that year, but it can be an expensive business," she said. However her family didn't complain about the abundance of "second-rate" cakes.
Anne has won many trophies for most points in the sweets classes, with the stewards clamouring for taste tests after the Show.
If you would like to obtain a show schedule for any section, contact the Gympie District Show Society office on 5482 1721.
Anne said there had been some changes to last year's schedules, and advised prospective competitors to read their schedules carefully and take note of closing dates for entries.
Graphic to the right:
ALL IN THE DETAIL: Anne Long plays with a spray of flowers as she prepares for the Gympie Show.
There's more to the Gympie Show than horses and cattle ...
COME to the Gympie Show to find all your favourite animals -- horses, cattle, goats and alpacas -- and dogs!
The dog show will be easily accessible this year, to the left of the main gates near the grandstand, and the Gympie Kennel Club organisers are looking forward to bumper nominations.
President Kerry Maguire and vice-president Ruth Waxman said the club hosted a championship show at Gympie just a few weeks ago in March, and surprised everyone by attracting more than 500 entries.
"Gympie is fairly central and so we attract people both from Brisbane and up north," Ms Maguire said, with Griffin, a West Highland White Terrier, sitting quietly at her heels.
He is a seasoned campaigner, as dog owners committed to the show circuit like Ms Maguire will often travel away to shows on the eastern seaboard.
"It's a weekend away and while still a relatively new sport, it is growing all the time.
"It's all about promoting purebred dogs and it's addictive," she said, explaining that she has another four dogs at home.
"Once you get a dog for showing, you start to want to actively help improve the breed, and when your dog performs well, it is only natural to breed from him," she said.
Ms Maguire's background is in dog obedience training and agility courses, and after being invited to attend a couple of conformation dog shows, she was "bitten" by the bug (pun intended).
"It's a friendship thing, you get into a group which travels away together, and there's always a glass of champagne around on the show circuit.
"If you are lucky you can get ribbons and points towards championships too.
"It's lots of fun," she said.
The Gympie Kennel Club hosts three shows a year, which includes the ag show.
Its affiliation with the Canine Control Council -- the main governing body in the dog sector -- ensures that all shows are run to exacting standards.
To enter championship dog shows, all dogs must be registered with the Canine Control Council of Queensland, and owners must be members of the organisation.
All breeds can be entered, and as a result, conformation shows are a great place to check out the different breeds if you are looking to purchase a pedigreed dog.
Ms Maguire said all common breeds will be represented at the Gympie Show, such as Staffordshire Terriers, Labradors, English Cocker Spaniels and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, but you could also come across some of the lesser known dogs -- Westies, Vizslas, Borzois, Schipperko and both the giant and standard Schnauzers.
Nominations for the Gympie Dog Show are now closed. The dog show is held on the last day of the Gympie Show, Saturday May 16, from 9am.
Gympie Obedience Club holds its obedience classes on Monday nights at 5.30pm and can give any dog owner assistance to begin showing their pets.
Gympie Kennel Club runs and organises conformation shows held at the Gympie Showgrounds in early March and late June.
For more information about the kennel and obedience clubs, contact Ms Maguire on 5482 8874, or for inquiries about the Gympie Show, contact the Gympie District Show Society office on 5482 1721.
29/04/09 Partyworld sees the fun in sideshow alley at the Gympie Show
Gympie Partyworld wants you to have a great time in Sideshow Alley at the Gympie Show next month from May 14-16.
That's why the local business has doubled its financial commitment to the annual event, sponsoring the venue hosting rides like the scary Skywalker, reputedly Australia's most thrilling attraction.
It was a natural way to spend their money as owner Anna Reid is one of the biggest thrillseekers in Gympie and can't wait to try out the new attractions.
But she says her husband Clayton will be quite happy keeping his feet on the ground with the kids while she is at it.
The pair bought Gympie Partyworld just over 18 months ago and immediately sponsored the Gympie Show in their first year of business.
"But this year we feel we are being given much more of a profile for our money," Anna said. "And that makes you want to contribute to the show's success."
The Reids' confidence in the annual show is in part due to the efforts of award-winning marketing consultant Joel McEnery, and they join other key sponsors including Budget Steel and Gympie Regional Realty, whose new owners John and Marg Cochrane are keen to give back to the show which they have supported for years through the dairy industry.
The show marks its 122nd anniversary this year and in Joel's words, it is one of the key economic stimuli in the Gympie Region.
He said the show captured the biggest local audience with some 30,000 people streaming through the gates over the three-day event. This was compared to the Toyota Muster which while attracting larger crowds, catered to a majority of non-local consumers.
"The Gympie Show is better than any sort of cash handout because it's an opportunity to showcase your local enterprise and talent to your local community.
"The benefits here come back to the business sponsor for the long term."
Joel's strategy is to offer value-laden packages to business sponsors and his approach to championing local commerce is paying off.
"We as a show society are keen to be trading with local businesses for our own needs, and at the same time be promoting them to the Gympie Region as a whole using the platform we have as a major local event.
"We are serious about giving back to our sponsors in equal measure as much as they have given us."
"And as a result businesses are no longer sponsoring the Gympie Show out of corporate social responsibility, they are seeing this as an opportunity for astute business investment."
He credits the show as the catalyst for the formation of his own company, A.I.M. Marketing Australia, and his industry acumen won him a university award this month as the most outstanding final year marketing student at the University of the Sunshine Coast.
The university, in particular, the Business Faculty, has a great partnership with the commercial sector on the Sunshine Coast and Joel's award was presented and donated by Sunshine Plaza/Lend Lease.
Your community on show
Tickets to the Gympie Show go on sale on Monday EDS April 27 at Mary Street (WideBay Australia) and Centro Gympie, and Graham Engeman is among many people looking forward to showtime.
It's the chance for the Gympie Region to polish up and shine because the annual event is really an opportunity to point the spotlight at the community.
Show society president of nine years, Cr Engeman loves to check out the quality livestock from the region, but he is always surprised by the variety of entertainment and displays offered at the Gympie Show.
"It reflects this region and you, the community, because it really is your show," Cr Engeman said.
"So with the show on your doorstep, make the most of it!"
Cr Engeman is not just talking about joining the throngs entering the show gate.
"There is so much happening at the Gympie Show Society office in the run-up to the show, everyone can be a part of it," he said.
"You can be involved as a show visitor, but you can also be involved as a volunteer, your business can sponsor the show, or you can bring a group of friends to town to enjoy the occasion."
Cr Engeman said that while the Gympie Show was a three-day event on paper, the flow-on effects were felt by the region for weeks afterwards.
"Show specials are always honoured for a period of time after the show, and people who come here to exhibit will all spend money in the region during their stay."
Treasurer Lars Hedberg said the fact that the gate takings last year amounted to $250,000 showed the importance of the show to the local community.
He said the show was granted a public holiday on the Friday -- May 15 -- which also indicated its significance to the Gympie Region.
"So plan to come along on the Friday if you have not been before, or you have not been for a while, and support your community.
"Gympie people love their show, it is a major event on the yearly calendar," he said.
The show's significance has been recognised by the show society with its commitment to engaging professional marketing personnel and a show administrator this year to further the show's success.
Day tickets for the show can be purchased at four entry points each day of the show from 7am to 8pm. There are two entry gates off Exhibition Rd (Main Gate behind the Grandstand and Pedestrian Gate beside Poultry Pavilion) as well as two entry gates off the public car park behind Machinery Alley.
Multi-day passes must be purchased prior to the show from the Show Office at the grounds, Mary St or Centro. These allow entry day and night for three days. They are not sold during the show to locals. Armbands must be worn for entry to the show and will be checked at gates by security.
The Gympie Show opens on May 14, and is followed in August by the Mary Valley Show, Rodeo and Woodchop on August 22 at Imbil.
Inquiries to the Gympie Show Society office on 5484 1721
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