A & P show a crowd pleaser

PIERS FULLER
Last updated 12:27 19/02/2014
Masterton A&P
MOOVING DAY: Zoe Thurston shows off a couple of bovine friends at the Masterton A & P Show.

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The Masterton A&P Show this year had its biggest revamp in decades, which has paid off with the biggest crowd in decades.

The most significant change is that it was shortened to a one day format but the event also included major new additions this year.

Masterton A&P Association president Allan Williams says this year's show exceeded their greatest expectations and they are only looking to grow it from here. They had so many people come through the gate on Saturday that they had to create a new carpark halfway through the day. Though the finances from this year's show have not been tallied yet, it is clear that it will break even.

"With the two-day show, you rely heavily on the gate as your income. It was amazing to see that we did better in one day than we did last year in two days.

"It was certainly the most successful show we've had in the last 20 years. I've been going to shows at least that long and it's the biggest crowd I've seen there," said Mr Williams.

The addition of the Wairarapa Gate-to-Plate lamb showcase was a great success and they also had a Masterton District Council funded concert in the evening which looks to be another winner.

"When we set out on this project a year ago we had a vision in mind, but we're way above any expectation I had," said Mr Williams.

The sponsors were also impressed with this new aspect of the show and have already signalled they will be coming back, along with new sponsors showing interest. The Wairarapa Gate-to-Plate marquee was full most of the day as people watched celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, competitions and information programmes.

The gate-to-plate has also served to invigorate competition among lamb producers who want to prove that they can grow the best lamb in the region.

The A&P Association committee haven't officially agreed to change to a one-day show for good, but the general consensus is that it has been a success and the future shows will follow this new format.

"Just talking to the members casually I can see that we're all pretty focussed on one day," he said.

With several measures of success reached this year, it is not to say there was not room for improvement. Mr Williams says they may look at changing the site and time of the 'Sounds of Solway' concert in the afternoon.

People who attended the show loved it, but the afternoon sun on Saturday evening was right in the face of the band members who were sweltering while the crowd in and in- front of the old grandstand were in shadow. The organisers may move the stage around to the north end of the arena under the trees and kick off the concert a bit earlier than this year's 4.30pm start to get more people staying on from the day's regular show activities.

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- Wairarapa News

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