Times are changing for Gold Coast Show

LOGAN WALKER

Few events are able to really bring a community together for good old family fun in the way that a show can, and the Gold Coast Show is no exception. From sideshows and showbags to fireworks and animals, the Gold Coast Show is a bona fide crowd pleaser.

Fireworks at the Gold Coast Show

The fireworks show will be just one of the many highlights at this year’s free Gold Coast Show at the Broadwater Parklands. Photo: Show Hero

 

In fact, record crowd numbers at last year’s Gold Coast Show have led organisers to predict that this year could be the show’s biggest turnout yet.

Event organiser Peta-Jayne Habner said this year the show would not only draw bigger crowds, but it would be bigger and better than ever, with new forms of entertainment ready to be unveiled to the public.

“The Broadwater Parklands will come alive… and will include the largest and most spectacular side-show ever assembled,” Ms Habner said.

“[The] new program elements will also see a free Ashton Entertainment Circus held three times a day featuring over 20 performers,” she said.

The Gold Coast Show will also include family favourites such as rides, showbags, fireworks,  sideshow games, plus baby animals, camel and pony rides, live music, woodchopping, dog and equestrian competitions, racing pigs, art and craft displays, dino rovers and even a psychic expo.

Patting at lamb Gold Coast Show

There will be lots of fun for people of all ages at this year’s Gold Coast Show, including some exciting new attractions. Photo: Gold Coast Show

 

The Gold Coast Show has a long history, but was not always known for its bright lights, live music, showbags and sideshow alley.

In fact, the show has evolved significantly since it first began 113 years ago.

The show’s long history has seen six changes of location, the addition of new forms of entertainment, and a complete reinvention from the purpose it once served.

The Southport Show, as it was originally called, started as a fruit, vegetable and flower exhibition at Woodroffe Park in 1906.

People went to the Southport Show to socialise and vendors could go there to sell their produce.

Eventually that changed, and the show became a place for farmers to show off their livestock through activities such as cattle shows, and visitors could learn more about the agricultural industry.

Gold Coast Show Society CEO Lavinia Rampino said the show had changed a lot in its 113 years of operation.

“It was very much about the agriculture and farm life in the early days, now it’s more about educating people about the food, farm life and giving kids the opportunity to come up close to animals,” Ms Rampino said.

Eventually the show outgrew Woodroffe Park and moved to Whitby Street in Owen Park, Southport, in 1919.

It remained in Owen Park for 60 years, where livestock shows and an equestrian event were major features of the event.

But a steady growth in visitors demanded a bigger venue, which was why the Parklands Showgrounds were developed for the Gold Coast Show in 1989.

The new, bigger venue enabled greyhound and harness racing to become new staples of the show experience.

The Broadwater Parklands site for the Gold Coast Show

The Broadwater Parklands is the latest site for the Gold Coast Show. Photo: Logan Walker

 

Then, in 2018, the development of the Athletes’ Village for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games demanded that organisers find a new location for the Gold Coast Show, leading to the event’s most recent relocation to the Broadwater Parklands.

The move to the Broadwater Parklands and the removal of the entry fee proved beneficial to the show, with visitor numbers quadrupling.

Local Gold Coast mum Lara Proverbs said she was unsure how to feel about the location change initially, but said she thought it was ultimately a success.

“I just didn’t think that the Broadwater was wide enough to pull it off, but it was pretty successful,” Ms Proverbs said.

“It was a lot of walking, but I think the venue works pretty well and serves the purpose that it needs to,” she said.

“My family and I will be back this year for sure.”

The show’s ability to provide both food and entertainment does a lot to bring crowds in for the three-day event.

Gold Coast Show organiser Peta-Jayne Habner said the location for the show would stay the same for the time being, but said there was no guarantee against future changes.

“The venue is confirmed for four years including this year… there will have to be [changes in the future], but at this stage we don’t know what they will be,” she said.

The Gold Coast Show runs from Friday August 30 to Sunday September 1 and entry is free.

Visit www.goldcoastshow.com.au for more information.

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