Brewing Show success

BEER and rosellas may not be the first things that spring to mind when you think of the Grafton Show, but they are among the main attractions for veteran exhibitors Jack Lumley and Ian McGaw.

Jack is the steward of the brewing section and has been making his own beer, wine and spirits for more than 20 years.

This year, he took out first prize in the new or pale style beer, red wine and white wine classes, and came second for his apple cider and baileys. Despite his many achievements, Jack was pipped at the post for grand champion honours, which went to Woolgoolga man Robert Phelps.

“He did it last year, too. I'll have to do something about him,” he said.

While Jack denied there would be broken legs at next year's show, the rivalry between entrants is understandable considering the amount of effort that goes into making each bottle.

Jack said contestants made two bottles for each class, one for tasting and one for presentation. It takes two to three months before the drinks are ready for the show, and sometimes there can be mishaps along the way.

For instance, this year Jack said a bottle exploded before tasting on Saturday night.

“I've never seen that happen before,” he said.

At the produce pavilion, there were no explosions but plenty of strange and wonderful sights.

From enormous pumpkins to twisted grammas, blue eggs and a display signed 'bloody hot habaneras', there seemed to be something to suit any palate.

Steward Ian McGaw's rosellas and squash took out first place in their classes, with Ian's overall point score earning him the Gordon Davis prize.

He said entries were up on last year but found it hard to pick a most popular class.

“It's all popular because it's all good food,” he said.

This year he was impressed by the displays from agricultural classes at South Grafton High School, Grafton High School and Clarence Valley Anglican School.

“It's good to see the kids getting involved,” he said.

Yesterday, the action in the main ring centred on showjumping events, with camel races, woodchop and freestyle motocross team FMX Kaos in the afternoon.

Jamie Shipman's working dogs display, featuring local footballers taking on sheepdogs, went ahead last night and will appear again tonight.

Today, horse events will kick off at 7.30am, followed by woodchops at 11am, the official opening and Grafton Showgirl announcement at 2pm, FMX Kaos at 3pm, camel race heats at 6pm and 7pm, dog obedience at 6.30pm, Shipman working dogs at 7.15pm, camel racing final at 8pm, FMX Kaos at 8.15pm and the fireworks display at 8.45pm.

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