The Ekka is back in full swing and we couldn’t be more excited. Brisbanites look forward to the Royal Queensland Show every year and the 2020 edition has been no exception. Founded in 1875 by the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland, the event showcases the best of Queensland agriculture by bringing the country and the city together for an annual celebration that is always an affair to remember.
More than 21,000 competitive entries across everything from beef cattle and dog breeds to giant vegetables and cooking are the cornerstone of the entire show, which this year runs from August 9 to August 18. Of course, there’s so much more to it than that. Entertainment comes in many shapes and sizes at the Ekka and there’s something for everyone to enjoy. With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick guide to some of the show’s most exciting activities and events for 2020.
If there’s one thing the Ekka has in spades it’s animal-centric activities and events. One of our personal favourites is the Canine Show, which has a new home at the recently renovated Alexandria Park. It’s always a fun-filled affair, as dogs and their owners come from all over the world to exhibit and admire breeds that are the best of the canine best. Check out the schedule early to make sure you have a chance to see these talented pups prance and dance their way across the Dog Pavilion.
Families with young kids will also love the RACQ Animal Nursery. Open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm daily, the nursery is one of the show’s biggest drawcards with all sorts of cute and cuddly farm animals on display. Children will have a chance to pat and feed pigs, lambs, goats, chickens, ducklings, dog puppies and more. Providing many of them with an opportunity to interact with farm animals they don’t normally see in their everyday lives and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Speaking of getting up close and personal with farm animals. The Norco Milking Barn is another fantastic opportunity for people of all ages to experience the life of a dairy farmer. Guests will learn what a dairy farmer’s job entails, including what’s involved in the butter making process and how to separate milk into cream and skim milk using traditional techniques. Afterwards, visitors also get to test out their newly acquired knowledge by hand-milking a cow for themselves.
Walking amid the showgrounds it’s easy to believe that’s there’s an endless amount of things to do and see at the Ekka, which can make it hard to know where to go next. But if the crowds are anything to go by, the arcade and pinball strip is definitely a must-visit. In a joint venture with Brisbane’s blossoming subculture of arcade bars and pinball halls,
the Ekka arcade has more than 50 pinball machines and 20 original arcade games to enjoy for the 10 days of the show as part of their first hosting of the Brisbane Pinball Masters competition, which will take place on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 August.
The Old Museum continues to delight in the form of a green thumb paradise, although the Brookfield Gardens’ interactive display highlighting the benefits of indoor plants, natural forests and bushland as aides to remedying health issues is particularly inspiring. The butterfly stilt walkers are also nothing short of spectacular as they flutter through the historic red-brick building – don’t forget to bring your camera!
Night owls and after work punters are well looked after thanks to the Main Arena, which comes alive each night of the show with an array of captivating programming. Whether you love monster truck madness, daredevil BMX riders or brave stunt drivers recreating some of Hollywood’s most famous action scenes, there’s no doubt that the Main Arena will shock and awe.
Plus, lasers and 20 flames in every colour of the rainbow will feature in the Main Arena’s Children’s Fireworks’ every night at 6.05pm. In a nod to the hit movie series How to Train Your Dragon, a three-metre-high dragon will breathe flames of more than 10-metres-long while Goldie the Clown is forced to try and defeat the fierce creature. The spectacle also includes high-flying international gymnasts jumping, twisting and bouncing on trampolines, as well as four riders quad bike riders performing in LED suits that change colours in the blink of an eye.
You’ve probably heard of the Bermuda Triangle but have you heard of the Taste Triangle? The Ekka has created this almost mythical foodie experience to allow visitors to get lost in a sea of amazing culinary delights during the show. There’s an unbelievable amount of treats on offer and if you’re keen to sample as many as possible, your first port of call should be the Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion – which has more than 60 food and drinks stalls to nibble and sip your way through.
Top picks from the market-style pavilion include Brisbane favourite Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers. The pillowy and tender pasta practically melts in your mouth and comes with a variety of rich sauces. There’s also gooey $3 cheese toasties, decadent cinnamon-topped gluten-free doughnuts from GFree Donuts, and 12-inch long calamari fries from Calabang.
King Street is another phenomenal food precinct that deserves a few stomach satisfying visits. However, if you only go once, make sure to grab a butter sandwich from Welcome to Bowen Hills. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more upbeat you can head to El Camion Cantina for their vibrant TexMex cuisine. With bright neon lights and sombrero-splashed party vibes, you’ll enjoy a downright delicious menu featuring tacos and burritos while dancing in your seat to the restaurant's funky soundtrack.
If you’re feeling game, you can also take part in one of the exclusive cooking masterclasses taught by Brisbane’s leading chefs in the Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion. Running for approximately 45 minutes, the demonstrations will give foodies and cooks alike a chance to learn new techniques while adding their own culinary flair. Those wanting to sign up for the masterclass can register on the day at the cooking school.
For more information visit the Ekka website: www.ekka.com.au.