My first local Show. Supported by good friends, we bravely faced the local competition in my first hometown Show. Grabbing the bit by the teeth, I entered some very unfamiliar sections such as single white rose, edible herb collection and cherry tomatoes, as well as the slightly more familiar territory of knitting (although this is my first year of knitting competitions).
It was so much more fun going to a local Show and doubly-so by entering competitions. The adventure started the day before, with entries having to be submitted to the Hall by 11 am Friday. The Stewards were so welcoming, friendly and helpful in showing us newbies the ropes and helping with paperwork and submissions. At 11 am the call went out for all visitors to leave so judging and set-up could commence. From 6pm Friday night was a special viewing of Pavilion entries to see all the exhibits and winners – so much more personal being up close and with Stewards and Judges able to give feedback on their decisions. This is always well-attended by the locals and part of the local Show tradition. My personal view on the knitting was that it was the best display layout I have yet seen – making an effort to hang lace fully in front of windows to show the patterns and hanging garments with care. The competition was strong (much stronger than anticipated). We later heard that some of the competitors have regularly won their categories at the Sydney RAS for over a decade.
We were thrilled to find out that we had done well, with my friend Lee taking out First in the Blanket category and second in the Lace. Whilst my Ten Stitch Blanket (a personal favourite) is yet to place in any Show, my green Shetland Lace was given a Highly Commended in the Lace category and my cream Fluidity won First and managed to score me the Champion Piece of Knitting for the Show. The locals and regular contestants could not have been more welcoming to us and have inspired us to make sure we are up again next year. Refreshing to hear how positive the contestants were – no grumbling about judging, displays or undeserving winners – all just encouraging, supportive and proud of their local Show.
As for the Horticultural entries, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve set the bar low and can only improve. The cherry tomatoes (which I was originally proud of), were a complete embarrassment compared to all the other entries. My herbs were OK, just that the prize winner was outstanding and lessons were well-learnt for next time. I entered one of my few roses in flower and wasn’t embarrassed at my quality, just that the others were so much better. Still, it was a Pope John Paul II – some divine intervention may have been appropriate. Maybe the Good Samaritan rose will be in flower next year. We picked up lots of inside knowledge (all very practical) for next time and may even have a crack at jams or pickles in 2014.
After the viewing we headed to Kandos RSL for its legendary Chinese. I’d put it’s szechuan chilli and crispy duck against many of the Sydney restaurants. Locals already knew of our success and we were warmly congratulated – one of the great benefits of a small community.
Unfortunately Show Day on Saturday was very wet, which limited the activities, but it was good to see the level of local interest. We looked at cattle and sheep like pros and pretended the home canines might behave like the Show dogs if we put them in the ring. Show fleece was on sale as there were obviously lots of local spinners. The Alpacas weren’t a Show category this year but it was fantastic to see how organised and co-ordinated the local alpaca community was in promoting their industry.