Today is the last day for the Sydney Royal Easter Show, an annual event that children of all ages from all over the state look forward to attending every year. It’s been described to me by my step-mother-in-law as the place “where country meets city” and is a tradition not to be missed. Since I’m now in the process of officially becoming Aussie, how could I not attend?
We started the day early and met up with my in-laws at Central Station to get our tickets. The cost was $77 for two return trips to the Sydney Olympic Park which also included our entrance to the show. It was a gorgeous day so we made the most of it by taking the train down to Circular Quay and using our tickets to catch a ferry. We were able to quietly relax away from all the crowds and soak in the beautiful views along the Parramatta River. It made me realize there’s just so many other nearby suburbs I still have yet to explore!
In the midst of my excitement on the ferry, I somehow managed to lose my ticket and once we arrived at the show, I had to purchase yet another one to enter. Thankfully, no one crucified me for the silly mistake and after receiving my second ticket, we finally made our way through the gates and onto the bright, colourful show grounds. I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean, I’m a girl who grew up in the small suburbs of Northern California with minimal exposure to farm animals. I think the only time I’ve seen them up close is when I’ve gone to a state fair and those were back in my early tween years. Even then, they were the small ticket items like chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, and that sort. I’ve never actually seen a real cow up close or watched border collies round up a herd of sheep. But that was all about to change.
I never thought I’d be so fascinated with as many things as I was during that day at the show. Just being there gave me a heightened awareness of just how many people in this world get busy. And it was refreshing and inspiring to be exposed to their hard work, and the lifestyle they’ve chosen to live on the farm. Blacksmiths, brick makers, leather workers, and even contest knitters–man, do they hustle! Who can be bothered with Instagram when you’ve got hundreds of horseshoes to make? Who cares what’s happening on Facebook when there’s dozens of cattle to feed? And honestly, what value does the Royals whereabouts add to someone’s life while they’re busy shearing sheep?
Ok well maybe news about the Royals was critical on this day but only because Will and Kate were actually at the show. Perhaps that’s what made it truly “royal.” No, I didn’t get a photo, though I’ll admit I did try for your sake. I know how much excitement these things tend to bring to others but unfortunately, I was unsuccessful. However, I did manage to catch a quick glimpse of the back of Will’s head as he was walking away.
Royal or not, I can honestly say that the Sydney Royal Easter Show took me by complete surprise, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it–from the live woodchopping contest to the motocross show, and the polo match followed by an all out rodeo. There was even an entertaining narration in the arena celebrating all the major Australian accomplishments throughout history (who knew an Aussie invented the black box flight recorder?) complete with live props such as an oversized two-stroke lawn mower chased up by a Hills Hoist fixed onto a racing quad. Sure the narration was a bit silly and for the majority of it, they took the piss out of themselves in traditional Aussie fashion, but it was highly informative for an expat like me. And just when I thought I’d seen it all, they busted out a massive fireworks show!
It’s difficult to sum up my day at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in a plain sequence of words. I feel as though nothing can quite capture everything I experienced when I was there. Not even my dozens of photos. And while it may not have been quite as exciting to others as it was to me, it certainly lived up to its promise of being a “celebration of Australian culture…providing unique experiences for everyone.”
(More photos in next post)