Showgirls count down to Saturday
ON Saturday night one of three young women will collect the Gympie Showgirl title and will then represent the local region at the Near North Coast Sub-Chamber ball at Imbil in July.
Nicola Cotter, Ashleigh Ensbey and Ashlee Gear have worked hard since August to raise both money and the profile of the popular Gympie Show and its society members.
Society president Graham Engeman says the Showgirls are vital to the Gympie District Show, providing a social thread between show members and the broader community.
Their fundraising efforts also provide the funds to build the infrastructure improvements at Gympie Showgrounds, including the Grandstand, the Pavilion, covered stalls in the cattle areas, display stands in the Pavilion, and the administration building.
Cr Engeman said that while entry to the show was very affordable, if not cheap, the importance of the Showgirls and their committees to the financial and social health of the show, and its ability to replace and build key infrastructure, is proven by the event's 132-year history.
The 2009 Show Ball will be held at the Pavilion at Gympie Showgrounds this Saturday.
Doors open at 6pm for 6.30pm with the appetizer and two-course dinner served at your table at 7pm. You can dance the night away to popular band Kickstart.
Inquiries and bookings to 5482 1721.
Former Gympie Showgirl remembers her special night
SHOW Ball tickets cost a mere $4 when Narelle Towner collected the Gympie Show Princess crown in 1976.
Then 17, and known as Narelle Tramacchi, she was sponsored by the Apex women and entered the annual event against four other young ladies -- Shanelle Waters, Gayle Mahon, Robyn Stark and Margaret Warren.
Narelle was a laboratory assistant at Gympie State High School, and speaking about the event this week, she remembers holding a tennis tournament as part of her fundraising.
"I don't think that was the real focus," she said at the Gympie and District Show Society office, where she is hard at work these days in the administration department.
"It was a busy time for me as I also entered the Gold Rush quest that year, and then I followed up the next year by entering the Miss Australia quest," she said.
"Like the girls today, we were ambassadors for the show.
"The show was one of our favourite events of the year, so it was a great experience to raise funds and help the organisation," the former Mary Valley resident said.
She does remember that the show ball in that year, on May 7, headlined two bands from 8pm-2am, and alcove bookings were available in addition to table seating.
"Of course, the ball was held in the old pavilion building and attracted more than 400 people.
"I went with my partner Colin Towner, who I later married -- we celebrate 29 years of marriage this month!"
In preparation for the ball, Narelle remembers taking dancing lessons with Bronwyn Molloy and her brother Trevor as a partner.
Narelle's mum Betty Tramacchi made her dress for the occasion, and on winning, Narelle took her on her prize trip -- a return trip to Sydney staying at the Canberra Oriental Motel. Narelle also won a course in ballroom dancing, a gold wristlet watch, dinner for two in Gympie, a shampoo and set, and a $15 open order for clothing.
Judges included the then Queensland Police Minister and his wife, Mr and Mrs Max Hodges, and photographer Bernie Crawford.
Narelle fondly remembers forming great friendships with the show society members who helped the princess entrants prepare for their quest.
Seeing the efforts of Showgirl entrants in preparation for the 2009 Show Ball this Saturday EDS April 4, she appreciates the major commitment by the girls, their parents and their committees.
They can raise up to $50,000 for the show society in current Showgirl endeavours.
Back in 1976, Margaret Warren (now Cochrane) was crowned Charity Princess. She was sponsored by the Rural Youth organisation and raised $561 of the total $2137 collected by the entrants.
Narelle says the quest pays off in its support of the annual show and its hardworking society members, who continue to bring a great country experience to the Gympie Region.
"It's great to do something for the community, and the girls get a boost to their confidence and self-esteem.
"And it's an extremely valuable contribution to the show society coffers."
These days, Narelle is back at the Gympie Showgrounds giving back to the society which gave her so much.
"There's a lot of work getting this show organised, and it is great to see young women learning all about it.
"We hope they will continue to be involved with the society in the future," she said.
CROWNING MOMENT: Queensland Police Minister Max Hodges and his wife crown Narelle Towner (nee Tramacchi) as Show Princess in 1976 at the Gympie Show Ball.
GOT YOUR TICKET? This is an example of Show Ball ticketing in the 1970s in Gympie.
SHOW PRINCESS: Narelle Towner (neeTramacchi) shows off her sash as the young Gympie Show ambassador.
12/05/09 Get ready ... Get set ... it's Gympie Showtime!
WITH less than five days to go, Gympie is sprucing up for the annual Gympie Show.
This year Brangus cattle are the feature stud breed and with 49 entries in the Brangus classes, visitors can see a better showing than at last year's Brisbane Ekka.
Entries are arriving from as far as Rockhampton and Emerald, and with Brangus one of the fastest growing breeds in the country, many new studs are starting up in the Gympie Region.
Brangus are a cross between Angus and Brahman, and offer the superior eating qualities and the hardiness of the Brahman. They are well suited to Queensland and are one of the most popular breeds in the USA.
Gympie Show Society president Graham Engeman said overall entries for this year's show are on a par with last year, although stud beef is down, which usually happens with Beef 2009 Rockhampton happening in the week before the show.
The showgrounds have been the scene of plenty of activity with extra gardening and beautification underway in all areas, and construction work has been carried out by a team of capable and willing workers from Gympie Landcare.
With several new sponsors on board this year, Cr Engeman said the show was being recognised as an important opportunity for businesses to reach the local community.
"And we do just that, with approximately 30,000 people visiting the show over its three days of activity" Cr Engeman said.
He said long-time dairy sponsor Robobank was convinced of the benefits of aligning with the show. Tom Grady had show naming rights and sponsored the fireworks, while Gympie Saddleworld had secured naming rights for the rodeo. And this year Gympie Partyworld was the new sponsor for Sideshow Alley.
Multi-day passes are now on sale at Gympie Centro, Wide Bay Australia in Mary Street and the show office in the Main Ring at the Showgrounds.
"The best value entertainment for three days is the $30 adult pass," he said.
"We have kept it low, so support the show," he quipped, asking where else you can get such a variety of entertainment for just $10 a day.
But he reiterated that armbands must be worn to enter the show, and there are two entry points on Exhibition Road behind the Grandstand and another two entry points in the grounds behind Machinery Alley and Sideshow.
There is a large Traders Section in Machinery Alley and around the Pavilion with plenty of show specials on offer.
Parking on the grounds will cost $2 this year with proceeds going towards the Mary Valley schools. Parking on the grounds should be much easier this year with entry from Exhibition Road or Ramsey Rd.
Check The Gympie Times for the show program or listen to Classic Hits 4GY radio for show updates.
The Gympie Show opens on Thursday EDS May 14.
Inquiries to the Gympie Show Society office on 5484 1721
Parking is a breeze for Gympie Show
SOUTHSIDE residents can breathe easy this year when the crowds roll up for the Gympie Show.
The show management committee has worked hard to ensure that traffic flows remain uninterrupted on Exhibition Road from Thursday.
To this end, show entry tickets will now be sold within the grounds at two points behind Machinery Alley and two points behind the Grandstand at the Main Gate and Pedestrian Gate.
Gympie Show Society president Graham Engeman said this was aimed at getting vehicles off Exhibition Road as quickly as possible, thereby alleviating the traffic backup that has occurred in previous years.
Show parking is basically the same as previous years but the society has returned to a user pays system, charging $2 per vehicle.
"The parking fee for visitors provides parking assistance, car park security and faster entry to the show," Cr Engeman said.
"Patrons wearing the pre-purchased multi-day pass can enter at additional security gates near the prime cattle yards, horse competitors' entry and sideshow alley gates."
Cr Engeman reminded patrons and exhibitors that they must wear armbands to enter the show, saying there would be security at all entry points to check for bands.
"This keeps show entry costs at low prices - we are providing up to 12 hours entertainment for an adult for as little as $10 per day.
"This is far cheaper than almost any other form of entertainment. There is very little entertainment as cheap or socially rewarding," Cr Engeman said.
Multi-day passes can be purchased before the show at Centro or Mary Street or at the showgrounds and cost $30 per adult for three days' entry. Youth and children also can pre-purchase at reduced prices, as can exhibitors.
A day pass which allows multiple entries on the day is $20 per adult, costing less for children and aged pensioners.
The Gympie Show opens on Thursday EDS May 14 and Gympie residents can enjoy their show holiday on Friday.
Inquiries to the Gympie Show Society office on 5484 1721
Pavilion at Gympie Showgrounds, Gympie
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