QUEENSLAND-GROWN wool and cotton, highlighted with leather, bamboo and silk, will be the agricultural centrepiece of the Natural Fibre Fashion Parade carrying the theme ‘Back to Nature’ as part of the 140th Royal Brisbane Show from August 11 to 20. Directed by Laura Churchill, the runway will feature 27 established, emerging and regional designers for one fabulous display of style.
And in the newly-named Agricultural Education Hall, there will be more educational activities for children than ever before, including the new Field to Fork interactive rural journey where kids will discover how their food gets from the field to their fork. In order of the agricultural cycle — composting, soil analysis, growing and planting, harvesting and processing — they’ll take part in activities such as grinding grains into flour and then using the flour to bake healthy muffins.
This year’s annual event — the only major state event to lay claim to such longevity — is celebrating this milestone by introducing for the first time, half-price entry and an expanded fireworks spectacular of two displays each evening.
Queensland’s largest annual event has a remarkable history, being staged every year except for just two — in 1919 due to the Spanish influenza epidemic and in 1942 during World War II.
Against a backdrop of yesteryear in monochrome and sepia, a magnificently choreographed media event held yesterday (Thursday) crammed 10 days of the forthcoming Ekka into one short event to highlight what patrons can expect — accompanied by a journey through the events that have made The Ekka an icon focussing on the importance of agriculture to the state.
As the countdown to the Ekka began with the official launch, RNA Chief Executive Brendan Christou said the 140th anniversary was an opportunity to thank Queenslanders for their support of the show.
The RNA has announced an half-price Twilight Ticket, plus a special early Children’s Fireworks — featuring the Colours of the Great Barrier Reef — presented by MG Motor at 6pm in addition to the famous night show fireworks finale at 7.40pm.
“The Ekka is the people’s show and this year we are celebrating its 140th anniversary by giving back to the people who have made the show what it is today,” Mr Christou said.
Mr Christou said the half price Twilight Ticket in addition to the return of the historic discounts introduced last year — the two day pass and the hugely popular two-for-one Super Ride Tuesday and Super Food Sunday — will deliver the most discounts ever offered at Ekka.
“On average a family of four spends eight hours at the show – that’s under just $3 each per hour,” he said.
Tickets are 15 per cent off online up until Ekka eve and remain the same price as last year for the 10 days of show if purchased online.
Mr Christou said over the past 140 years more than 30 million people have attended the show, making family traditions and childhood memories to pass down through generations.
This year, about 400,000 people were expected through the gates for the 140th Ekka — which was just 36 days away.
This year’s show will feature brand new world-class entertainment including a jam-packed night show, 10,000 animals, 21,000 competition entries and award-winning food and wine.
Each night the main arena will come alive with EkkaNITES, a spectacular night show never before seen and featuring world firsts and great family entertainment.
Amongst the amusements, there will be a monster ride known as The Beast, the largest travelling ride in the Southern Hemisphere; it’s 25 metres tall, has a swing of 45 metres high and weighs a whopping 86 tonnes.
Star of the show will be Australia’s first rotating gondola Ferris Wheel, which stands more than 32 metres high and riders will enjoy 360 degree views of Sideshow Alley.
Taking extreme diving to wild new heights, the Western High Dive Show will see international and national professional divers make a splash from 25 metres in the air — and one will even be on fire, literally!
Additionally, there is the world’s best extreme pogo demo crew that is bouncing over from the USA and will reach new heights as they fly through the air and even jump a vehicle.
For the very first time at Ekka, six of Australia’s most beautiful bird species will take flight as they soar across the audience and show-off their unique personalities. The crowd will watch on in awe as these stunning birds, including the endangered Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, free-fly right above their heads to take centre stage.
Australia’s favourite mischievous twins, B1 and B2, are being brought to The Ekka by Australian Bananas, and for the first time will stage a Bananas in Pyjamas Live Show — and after the show, every child will receive a free banana.
Within the exhibition grounds precinct is The Old Museum, which will become a hive of activity with the revived Community Stage (after a two year hiatus). In what is themed ‘Dancing in the Garden,’ the stage will give dance schools and community groups the chance to showcase their talents in front of an audience, while providing a platform for plenty of interesting gardening demonstrations and talks.
The 140th Ekka is presented by RACQ, will have more than 300 free things to do, and will run from August 11 to 20.