By ERWIN CHLANDA
All those people you’ve been trying to catch up with during the year, but just haven’t had time for it – don’t worry, they’ll all be there on Friday.
Yep, it’s Show Day.
Two-thirds of the town’s population – that’s 18,000 people, 50% more than even at the Finke – will be enjoying a sunny day, warming up from one degree to 18.
Don’t ask what’s new. Locals expect the town’s biggest event to be reliably the fantastic same, including this year 3000 “entries” – 300 up on last year – from hundreds of people, showing cattle to cupcakes.
There will be animals, traders, gadgets, machines and most importantly, and lots of yarning.
One old favourite is back – sandcastle building. The ever popular pigs will fly again.
You’ll be able to shirt-front politicians of all shades.
The kids will blow your hard-earned money in sideshow alley – and will be talking about it for a long time.
There’s food galore, including Central Australian Ambassador, chef Athol Wark, the “hunter and gatherer of wild foods”, offering bit-size delicacies.
The event had some anxious moments last year when the usual $30,000 grant from the NT Government didn’t materialise. This year a $35,000 donation arrived in time.
Talking money – you can save queuing and $3 (off $15 for adults) or $1 (off $7 for kids and age pensioners) on admission if you buy tickets at an IGA store or the Show office by Thursday.
The Showgirl Competition was open for women up to age 35 which should encourage a lot of guessing until the announcement of the winner during the Grand Parade and official opening, on Friday afternoon.
Show president Rosie Gibbins says trade display space in the Everingham pavilion is 100% booked, and 80% of the Greatorex pavilion.
There will be 280 indoors and outdoors exhibitors.
The Alice Springs Show started on Anzac oval 1960, moving to Traeger Park in 1971, and has now been at Blatherskite Park for 35 years.
This year’s fixture marks 45 years of participation by the Central Beef Breeders Association, and its sale on Thursday.
The cattlemen will celebrate the long association with several one metre-high cut-outs of cows and calves which kids have drawn the various cuts of meat.
The association usually displays stock and several different categories are being judged.
Other cattle events, not organised by the Beef Breeders, including the spectacular camp drafting and bronco branding, a couple of years ago ran into increasingly inflexible government rules about smoking, and other obstacles. (This year the event is “smoke free” with four designated smoking areas.)
Those cattle events have now been moved to the Harts Range racecourse.
On the first August weekend it will host the traditional bush race meeting, as well as a rodeo and a campdraft staged by the Red Centre Campdraft and Rodeo Association.
Local pastoralist Rebecca Cadzow says permanent, purpose built facilities have been created at Harts Range, and participants will save themselves the expensive transport of cattle into town.
There is no date yet for the next bronco branding event.
PHOTOS (from top): Part of last year’s grand parade • There are 160 agricultural entries for this year • Sideshow alley.