How to Support the Ekka!
It's been a trying two years for the Ekka, the Royal Queensland Show, and everyone involved - patrons, vendors and participants. With the Ekka being cancelled for the second year due to the pandemic, it's left a lot of fair goers sad, but more so farmers, vendors, competitors and artists have been left out of pocket.
Photo from the Ekka website of one of the first Cattle Shows
As most city dwellers enjoy the fair for the dagwood dogs, strawberry sundaes and fun rides and showbags. We often forget the reason the Ekka even started - to showcase the best of Queensland agriculture & produce and "to bring the country and city together for a true celebration of agriculture." The Ekka showcases the best of Queensland, attracting more than 21,000 competition entries from woodchop to giant vegetables, 10,000 animals from beef cattle to cats and dogs, world-class live entertainment, award-winning food and wine, carnival rides and showbags, family shopping, educational activities and much more.
A contrast to the usual Ekka Show photos. Cars waiting in line for drive through Covid-19 testing. Photo from ABC Brisbane.
The show has been one of Brisbane's main events to occur every year with the exception of 4 years! The Ekka was cancelled in 1919 due to the Spanish Flu epidemic, in 1942 as the show grounds were used as a staging depot in World War II and now in 2020 & 2021 due to the covid-19 pandemic.
The Ekka has always been a big part in the lives of the owners of Merino Country, Kerrie & Mal, who before they even met, would make the yearly trek to the big smoke of Brisbane from their hometowns of Richmond & Jandowae to catch up their mates and what was going on in Agriculture (before the days of mobile phones & social media etc).
Owners of Merino Country, Kerrie & Mal, at the EKKA!
Merino Country first exhibited at the Ekka in 1994 in the John Reid Pavilion and then afterwards, every year in the Sheep & Wool Pavilion with so many other fabulous wool products from other small businesses. Kerrie would drive down from North West Qld (about 18hrs) in her Suburu Brumby Ute loaded with Meirno stock! In 1997 & 1998, Kerrie organised the Wool Parades with her themes of Spinning Yarns followed Sheep Dreams, working with performers, artists and models to showcase the new fabrics & uses for wool, entertaining whilst educating the public of the benefits of wearing this amazing natural fibre.
The Sunday Mail, August 1997
An Ekka Love Story
For years both Kerrie and Mal had been coming to Brisbane at Ekka time to catch up with friends from both the country and the city and enjoy the delights of the best of Queensland Agriculture. Little did they know that they were often in the same venue but didn't connect until 2001 when they met in the Stockman's Bar and the rest, as they say is history! Their's is not the first Ekka Wedding - as reported by ABC Radio journalist Edwina Seselja - click here to read more.
Kerrie & Mal - an Ekka Romance resulting in a Wool Wedding... of course!
How to Support Farmers and Crafters
Sandra Richards and granddaughter Hannah tasting the famous Strawberry Sundaes & supporting the Common Good Prince Charles Hospital Foundation
Support Ekka Tastes outlets
Enjoy your favourite show foods with the Ekka Tastes Drive Thru this Saturday 14-22 August 2021. There will be strawberry sundaes, dagwood dogs and Bertie Beetle showbags for sale 10am-7pm daily. They'll be set up at the Brisbane Showgrounds drive-thru and at a King Street pop-up.
At Merino Country we love to support the Ekka Sundaes as they are a fundraiser for Common Good Prince Charles Hospital. The Prince Charles Hospital has a special place in our heart as they do such a good job at taking care of Kerrie's mum, Sandra, during emergency and ongoing treatment.
Lang's Gourmet Strawberry Jam
Buy your Showbags Online
Did you know the first Ekka Showbag was a bag of coal! Most of us have joyful memories of the excitement of opening a showbag. Pulling out each candy bar and toy was so special as a kid. You can get everything from Bertie Bettles Candy Show bags to Showbags for your fur babies with treats, to a Better Homes and Gardens Showbag with a cutting board! Get your showbags from the vendors below:
The Art Show 2021
There is a one-day event to showcase and celebrate the wonderful artworks and crafts. This Saturday 14 August 2021 at The Royal International Convention Centre, Brisbane Showgrounds. Tickets are available online for $10 per person. Get your tickets HERE.
You can keep up to date with new events and spotlight of winners and contributors to the Ekka on their Facebook Page.
City Meets Country
The Ekka is a great way to bring Rural Australia to the City. Here at Merino Country we are lucky to have a mix of country and city folk. We interviewed Mal and Faye to ask them why they attend the Ekka every year.
Mal, always the mechanic & able to fix our machines!
Mal -The Cattle Farmer
Mal our Co-Owner and machine specialist at Merino Country was a cattle and grain farmer from Jandowae - a small town with population of 1047 people located in the Western Downs Region of Queensland.
"We would go to the Ekka every year as there wasn't much to do out in our small country town. It was a little dry in every aspect so we would look forward to going into the city for a catch up with mates from all over the country. It was a meeting spot for industry to get together over a pint and chat about agriculture. We would hang out at the Cattleman's Bar where you could get a good feed and drinks. We'd head down to a nearby pub after the Ekka closed and keep chatting for hours. It's a fond memory & now a days I still get out there for Ekka Lunch and catch ups."
Faye - The City Gal
Faye, the City Girl, watching Kym sew!
Faye is a local Brisbane gal and one of our long time machinists. She is one of the women who sew our clothing and underwear with many years of experience. Faye enjoys going to the Ekka every year so we asked her why she likes to attend the Ekka.
"We enjoy going to the Ekka as a family! We would get there in the morning when the gates open and stay all day until the gates closed. I love to see the talent and skill of local Queenslanders and enjoy visiting the pavilions with arts and craft, the beautiful cake entries, the fruit and vege displays are a great sight to see too! I'm not a big fan of the rides but one game I enjoy is the Climbing Monkey game where you have to donk the climbing mokeys before they get to the top. There are some great causes to support too including the RSL and Hospital lucky envelopes. And of course we enjoy the night shows where there is music and fireworks. Its a great day out with the family and my cheeky pleasure is to get a bucket of fairy floss on my way out. "
We hope you enjoyed reading our Ekka blog and we hope next year we can enjoy our favourite show and catch up with friends at the event!