Monday, April 09, 2007

The Royal Easter Show: 10 years at Olympic Park

So where did that decade go?

Sydney's Royal Easter Show celebrates 100 years of its Grand Parade this year, but also ten years of shows since the move from Moore Park! I had plans to write up a report last night, of yesterday's visit to the 2007 Show, but I ended up fully absorbed in a conversation with a friend on MSN Messenger and midnight slipped right by.

I like attending the Show on Easter Sunday. When I was a kid, Easter Sunday was the one day the Show wasn't open; I guess to give the Show people a chance to celebrate Easter. It seems that many people still avoid that day - many families seem to have a particular, traditional day to attend - although the afternoons start to get rather busy. As a child, we almost always went to the Show on what used to be the last day: the Tuesday after Easter, known as Children's Day, when kids' entry was half price, and prices on showbags and some rides were slashed. The change to the Four Term School Year changed all that and, this year, the Show didn't actually start until the day before Good Friday.

The weather was kind. Not too warm, not too cold, and dark clouds lingering but never dropping their load. I've ben to the Show on many a wet day. Moore Park used to turn to sludge very quickly! I must say, the Homebush Bay venues (built for the Sydney Olympics of 2000) have made the Show more comfortable, if a little clinical and perhaps less nostalgic.

I spent wisely; only a few indulgences, such as King Island cheeses, fruit flavoured licorice and el cheapo Bertie Beetle showbags.

Antennae all round!:

Bertie BeetlewhiteStar Trek III: The Search for Spock premiere
Left: Bertie Beetle, 2007; Right: Thizzard with Andorians, 1984.

But: I must share a bizarre anecdote from the 80s! Every year there seems to be some wacky must-have novelty at the Easter Show. One year, it would be yo-yos, or silly headbands with stars on springs, or inflatable hats. One year, people all over the show "walking" wire leashes with a dog collar attached, as if walking an invisible pet canine. The next year, everyone was "walking" lizards on leashes! Their foam rubber bodies made these simple puppets look incredibly realistic.

I was with a group of new "Star Trek" friends that year, and I bought myself a blue lizard, with the intention of attaching little blue pipe-cleaner antennae to make him into an Andorian "thizzard". We were standing around in the car park after the Show, with me demonstrating my thizzard-walking skills, when actor/entrepreneur Joe Hasham (Don Finlayson of "Number 96" fame) came walking past with his two sons.

About six months later. My thizzard accompanied a group of us to a "Star Trek" costume party which, coincidentally, turned out to be several doors down from the "Number 96" building in Moncur Street, Woollahra! When we arrived home, my thizzard was missing, apparently having scuttled off into the dark, where we assume he made a home for himself in the cellar of "96".

The next year, you can bet that I was back at the Show, hoping to be able to replace my lost thizzard. I was successful! As I was standing in the car park, practising my thizzard-walking skills once again, I enthralled my small audience with how Joe Hasham and his sons had walked by last time. We looked up, and who was walking towards us? Joe Hasham and family! I kid you not. (I wonder if he thought, "There's that crazy stalker guy with the blue lizard again? Keep clear, kids!")

Have a great time at the Show if you decide to go this year. The popular item this year seemed to be magic haemitite juggling stones. And, as far as I know, Joe Hasham's still in offshore, and it was Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban at the Show today!

Note: The above photo of Therin, Tharrah, child and thizzard is from the premiere night of "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" at the Pitt Centre, Sydney.

No comments: