September 24 - October 3, 2011 Melbourne Showgrounds, Flemington
I always loved going to the show when I was little. I know you're not supposed to crave visits to commercial places like Disneyland, but Theme Parks are pretty awesome places to little kids, and since we really have none of those to speak of in Melbourne, the Show was something I always looked forward to visiting, whether it be with my parents as a little kid, or with my friends when I was a teenager.
The show is essentially like any of our rural agricultural shows, with competitions for animals, produce, crafts and skills like wood-chopping, coupled with rides, games, food, showbags, but on a much grander scale given its location. Admission for a family (2 adults and 2 children) is $70 for a day, but for RACV members who pre-purchase tickets online there's a 30% discount, with a $1 transaction fee. Children 4 and under are admitted for free.
Marilyn Monroe about to eat the children on the ride?!
Going to the show can get pretty expensive for a family. Fortunately there are plenty of things to do even if you don't want to spend much. Firstly the Grand Pavilion houses my favourite bit of the show, which is a lot of foodie goodies. There are cooking demonstrations from the likes of Matt Wilkinson from Pope Joan, and talks on wine and other food related goodies. Exhibitors of produce and services set up booths showing off their product, often offering samples and show discounts. The kids had a ball trying things out, from the likes of Goulbourn Valley Flavoured Milks, Fruit Squeezies, chocolate mousse, macadamia nuts, breads and spreads, to vegetable chips, sausages, and we were even given a tub of Philadelphia.. cream?! We also grabbed lunch here just prior to mad lunch hour, enjoying our corn on the cob, some fish and chips, and munching on $2 Coon Cheese toasties. (The $3.50 coffee was pretty awful though, sigh.... yet again we have been spoilt by all the great coffee in Melbourne!)
The animal nursery provided lots of entertainment, where the kids got to hold chickens, pat lambs and calves and other farm animals. We also checked out less common farmed animals like the camels and alpacas outside.
Then we saw a presentation on cats, and checked out the dogs, watching this beautiful one get prepped for his turn at being judged.
There are regular meet-and-greets by characters like Elmo, Fifi and the Cast of Rio.
We ran into the Big M Dude and Dudette giving out cups of milk from their backpacks.
Checking out the crafts and food for judging is always an enjoyable part of the Show for me. We spotted some awesome entrants to the cake decorating section this year, with an iPhone cake and a Pineapple-Under-the-Sea (Go Spongebob!) cake capturing our attention.
Then of course there are plenty of things for kids and parents to spend their money on. My kids could not go past the huge amount of freshly spung Fairy Floss on a stick for $4.50.
The endless game parlours with all their impossibly hard to get prizes. I admit I have never won one of those giant toys in my whole life!
And rides, rides, rides! I loved taking photos of them, and the kids enjoyed a spin on a really fast Merry-Go-Round.
Then of course there are the stars of the show for the kidlets - the Showbags. I'm not a point-and-you-will-get-it type of mummy, so they got their choice of one showbag each before we left. All in all I think they had a pretty great time. All off to sleep now so I can blog!
EatPlayShop Says : A great day out for the family, if only to let Mummy relive her childhood and have an excuse to check out the showbags and indulge in fairy floss (all for the sake of the kids of course!). Hubby's advice - bring a spare T-shirt in case one of the many Melbournian seagulls decide to poop on you.