Bungendore Show 2004
The Bungendore Agricultural
Show is a high point of summer here in Bungendore. Held on
the Sunday closest to Australia Day, it's easy to mentally
prepare to leave a space in your social calendar. Each year I think that I should take some of
our garden produce and enter it. Towards the middle of
January, I spend some time thinking there just might be an
early tomato ready in the garden, and there's that zucchini
that has been in excess for a week or so, and maybe there'd
be a ripe plum or two. But it all seems to develop its best
much later so I never do. Then each year I look at the
wilted and puny offerings on display and think "damn, mine
were better than that". (I also think "how come their whatevers are so big and ripe, mine are still green!" but
that's another aspect.)
Farmers, backyard gardeners, even frontyard gardeners have
been vying for the recognition of their peers at country
shows and fairs for a long, long time. "I can grow a bigger
pumpkin than you can neighbour". If you're breeding animals
or poultry there's pride in having a recognised 'best' and
there's money in it if you're selling that breeding stock. I
can see that aspect of an Agricultural show but, I've been
trying to fix all the other events at our show in a
context (forgive me, it's what I do).
Historical value is easy, for example the needlework
section is the high point of the craft for me, the cross
stitch and quilts that aren't just twee commercial patterns,
make me feel thankful that there are people still making
things of beauty with their hands. I think the kids entries
are fun (I watched proud parents bring their children's
decorated cakes as they entered their own exquisite delicate
sugar floral cake decorations and felt that was right). I
laughed (privately) at the purple nudes and lumpy landscapes
in the art sections knowing they weren't a true sample of
the artistic life in the town and just what showed up on one
day in January at the Bungendore show with a 50 cent entry
So there's all this mixed up in the day, and it's so
multileveled that I'll probably be plugging away at
recording it all, for as many years as I'm here. What I love
most is the unselfconscious awkwardness of the community
event, with luck that will never change.
Of course there is also professionalism, slickness and
finesse. The horse events are a stylised piece of culture
with all the artificialities of immaculate grooming and
'dressing up' and a quest for precision and control. That's
worth its own record, and some of the sheep/goats/
cattle/poultry just made me stop still in wonder. How
beautiful, how strange.
This year's diary record (there are past show entries in the
diary archives) I looked at the food, what we are eating and lamented
a bit that in a country area that is becoming 'good food'
conscious, how little of that regional produce is for sale at
the show. This year there were just a few new faces, the
'Mobile Coffee Cup' stand for the first time offered a good coffee
as did the Jindebah Hills coffee growers who had brewed espresso
and packs of their products for sale. Hills Honey were new,
and had just a
card table of their products. I bought a
But that was about it. I think we can do a lot better as
a display and marketplace for local growers and still keep
what's charming about the event. Just like those showbags at
right, a country show like ours is made up of old and new,
some things nostalgic, some tacky but for a one day show I
believe there's a
near perfect mix.
So, here's a gallery
of some of my Bungendore show images to prove it.
It opens in a new window, just give it a few minutes to load
the thumbnails. I've tried a new format and tried to keep
the images small for slower modems but Macs seem to have
trouble with it.
If you like what you
see, come along next year, it's the closest Sunday to
PS. This year
I did enter something. Some of the jams I've written about
at times here in the diary. I had one entry in the 'three
different varieties of jam in similar jars' and one in the
"one jar of cherry jam". Both got First Prize certificates
and the sour cherry jam got a blue ribbon for 'Most
Outstanding Exhibit' in the Jams and Preserves category. The
judge apparently said she liked the 'clarity' of the entries. I felt a
bit upset that she only looked at them and didn't taste.
That's why I make it after all, to eat.
(But if wine judges
just take a mouthful and spit, how would a jam judge handle
tasting two dozen entries. Hmmm, I don't want to think about
You can get a good cuppa at the CWA stand but
the Mobile Coffee Cup people did a good business in cappuccinos.
would Beery Hogget say?
Jindebah Hills grown on the coast at Byron
Bay and locally roasted ...
Culure shift? I don't know what is in the Yu-Gi-Oh
manga showbag but I saw a few walking past. I didn't see
anyone with this cowboy one below however.
Which made me wonder, are there still kids who want to grow up to
be a cowboy? Who was that masked man?