general stuff
show time

show time

Coming through the main entrance, and creeping down the driveway at a walking pace, the main thoroughfare of the Showgrounds was transformed. Normally a quiet, one lane road leading past the basketball sheds down to the archery range where Boy2 spends his Tuesday evenings; for the day it was a hive of activity. People moving around, calling out, setting up. Vans lining either side of the driveway. Wide open spaces restricted to narrow alleyways, one small track just wide enough squeeze a car through.

The small area designated as the drop off car park was buzzing as we unloaded the car and with arms full of entries, made our way to one pavilion and then the other. Friends from church, from homeschool group, from my own school days. The stewards of one section my old brownie guide leaders. A friend’s mum, and mum’s friends.

When you live in a country town, show weekend is a highlight of the social calendar. When you’re little, it’s all about the rides and eating your body weight in fairy floss. As a teen, it’s about socialising with your friends and showing off by riding the scariest rides because you’re just that cool (even when you aren’t and you are screaming silently inside). As a 40 something, it’s the chats in the sheds on drop off day, or at pick up the day after the show. It’s manning the scout stall and chatting to people you used to know when you were both kids knocking around side show alley, and people who are brand new to town. It’s doing the rounds and seeing how many names you recognise on the certificates.

For years, as we poke through the pavilions and each year watch the exhibits dwindle, I keep saying “I’ll enter something next year”, and then I never do. I talk myself out of it. I worry about displaying my work for others critique, that anything less than a stellar result is a direct attack on my worth as a maker and a person. Last year, I came really close, until an hour before the close of entries, I found a mark on my quilt and pulled the pin. The quilt cabinets were almost completely empty, and so I vowed I would follow through in 2024.

And follow through I did. I entered eight exhibits of my own, and Beetle entered three in the junior handicrafts.

I chose to enter: my rainbow plus quilt, purple maker tote, two cross stitches – animal house and valentines gnomes, last years bookish knitters society capelet, two skeins of spun yarn, and a pair of earrings. Beetle entered a diamond dot, an embroidery, and a little felt squirrel.

Friends, we had what my mum would call a “rip snorter” of a show.

I received three firsts (both cross stitches and one skein of yarn), two seconds (skein of yarn and knitted capelet), a third (earrings) and a highly commended for my quilt- seven out of eight exhibits scoring a certificate. Beetle went three for three – a first for his embroidery and second for both of his other two entries. We even scored some epic prize money – $4 for him, $8 for me, for a grand total of a one dollar profit on our entry fees.

More than the certificates, though, was the feeling of community, of being part of something bigger than a single project. Indeed, bigger than a single show. It was about connecting with others who were participating, and connecting with 150 years of tradition. It was about connecting with memories – entering a quilt and remembering the time in year seven we sat and chatted with a friend as she finished a quilt to enter, due that afternoon; seeing the shelves of granny square blankets and remembering my own blanket, crocheted and given to me by my great grandmother. It was about taking up the torch, knowing we are the new generation to carry on the joy of overflowing pavilions on show weekend, of carrying on the handiworks that were once a necessity of family life and now a joyful chosen hobby undertaken for fun and for grounding and for finding ourselves in the busyness of modern life.

My ribbons are now tacked to the wall of my craft room, the certificates pegged to my inspo wall. I walked out on the Sunday, piles of projects and certificates and ribbons, pockets laden with gold coins of winnings, and texted the Minister. “I’m thinking I need a year long project. One show entry completed a month”. “Yes, yes you do,” she replied. 2025 show domination, here we come.

2 thoughts on “show time

    • Author gravatar

      Yay! Congratulations to you both. And well done for entering – I’m sure it will encourage others, and participation is what makes the show The Show.

      • Author gravatar

        Thank you! And I totally agree, the more people that enter, the more that will be encouraged to enter. Meanwhile the people doing nothing are whining on Facebook that the pavilions are empty! One way to fix that!

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