FOR almost 200 years, it has been the place where country meets city in a celebration of all things Tasmanian.
The annual Royal Hobart Show starts on Wednesday and organisers, exhibitors and members of the Showmen’s Guild are on deck today getting their preparations in order.
Officials hope to draw about 45,000 people through the gates across the four days.
That healthy turnout would defy the trend of other large agricultural shows in the state, which have struggled to bring back the crowds of yesteryear.
However, Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania chief executive Scott Gadd remains confident of Hobart being a success.
“We pay attention to value for families. We are spending more on entertainment with free activities addressing the value-for-money issue,” he said.
“We have a big entertainment agenda for Friday, with fireworks that night.”
A new feature this year is the Tassie Showcase, with businesses from throughout the island invited to display their products.
“We’re hoping this initiative will build over the next few years and completely fill this [Showcase] pavilion,” Mr Gadd said.
“Tassie has so much great product on offer and we believe it should be showcased at the state’s premier agricultural show.
“We are extremely pleased with the response this year and the quality and variety of product is better than we anticipated.”
Products on display include sweets, jewellery, leather, beer, wine, gin, arts and craft and even pet treats.
Devils Brewery owner David Tottle is eager to show his five beer varieties, including pilsner, smoked porter and coffee stout, plus apple cider.
“It’s a big opportunity for us and having this section at the show reflects the popularity of craft beer and getting it across to the masses,” he said.
There will be on-tap sales or an “adult show bag” with product to take away.
Mr Gadd said entry numbers for the pavilions were solid, although there were no pigeons on show this year.
“Entries are good despite having pigeons quarantined because of the highly infectious rotavirus pigeons disease and no rabbits because of a new type of calicivirus,” he said.
“We have an increase in dairy cattle with new exhibitors creating 104 entries, up from 89 last year.”
Miniature goats, which will be judged at the Royal Show for the first time, have attracted 35 entries in 15 classes.
Miniature goat state show manager Jan Roberts said judging day was Thursday, but goats would be on display Wednesday through to Saturday, with breeders on hand.
Cindy Fagg, of Petit Paradise Mini Goats at Brighton, said she was excited about the show.
“It’s a bit daunting being an exhibitor and being judged, but it should be really good fun,” Mrs Fagg said.
In the beef cattle section 11 different breeds will be competing for prizes and money.
Beef cattle committee member Anita Dixon, of Lintwood Limousin Stud at National Park, said the show had received great sponsorship for beef cattle.
“Although there are only three senior bulls entered, numbers are up in the junior heifer and junior bull sections,” Mrs Dixon said.
“Young cows with calves at foot will be well represented in their section. Group classes are also up from last year.”
Sheep farmer Ken Gatehouse, who heads up the sheep stud committee, is expecting 120 exhibits, about the same as last year.
“We are happy with the situation considering the dry in the South. We’ve got quality exhibitors.”
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