Fine traditions of rural lifestyle
By EMMA CORNFORD
THE beef cattle may have been missing, but the people weren't.
Punters turned out in droves to this year's Grafton Agricultural Show, which president of the Grafton Show Society, Neville Hayward, put down to nostalgia as the show celebrated its 140th year and new attractions.
"I think it was the effort to produce some major attractions, and of course the fact it was 140 years, which meant a lot more people came than in recent years," he said yesterday, exhausted after the two-day event which wound up on Saturday.
But it wasn't just the people who showed up ? a record number of goats were also at the show this year.
"You could safely say we doubled the number of dairy and beef goats in competition. Usually we only have about 40 but it was up around 100 goats this year which was very good," Mr Hayward said.
"The pavilion was also utterly magnificent. They had a 140-year birthday cake and it was all made of seeds."
And in the end, it was lucky the traditional show attraction of beef cattle was missing ? a record number of equestrian entries meant the cattle sheds were used to stable an overflow of horses.
But an incident on Saturday night involving Clarence youths marred the celebrations, forcing the early closure of sideshow alley.
The 140th year also brought with it a showgirl reunion, which organiser Kathy Stewart said had been worth the hard work.
"It was a great evening. We had 27 former showgirls and their partners ... come up from as far as Victoria and Rockhampton," she said.
The gathering was held in the Barn at the showground on Friday night.
Melanie Stewart took out this year's showgirl title.