Traditional and contemporary industries will be celebrated when country folk come to town for the annual Marlborough Agricultural and Pastoral Show.
The two-day 2013 event starts on Friday, November 8, in the Blenheim showgrounds. Marlborough A&P Association president Christina Jordan is confident the show will be a good one.
"It's nice to be able to showcase Marlborough and all it's good points and bring it to town for these couple of days a year. We're trying to embrace everything, including conservation, fishing and mussel farming.
Christina has spared some time on the family farm at Woodbourne this week to outline the show programme. While she speaks, she is also keeping a watchful eye on a jersey cow in a paddock nearby. Lying in the grass, the animal is in labour and the birth isn't far away.
Nearby, older calves in a hay barn are getting impatient for their afternoon meal. Christina climbs over the fence and joins them in the pen.
"Hands-on farming", versus the mandatory office work that is an increasing part of every farmer's life these days, is what she loves most. The fourth-generation farmer works for the Jordan family farming company which operates a large range of activities including jersey dairy cows, southdown sheep, charolais beef cattle, fresh bean crops and seed crops like pea, barley, red clover and lucerne.
The A&P show is a good way of showing urban people what goes on in the country and keeps rural folk in touch with what their neighbours are doing.
"It's a great promotion to other farmers in the area who know we are breeding ‘that type' of stock. And you put any stock on parade with others in a ring and there's nothing like it, being able to compare side by side."
Christina's first A&P Show experience was as a 4-year-old contestant in a lead-rein pony class. She remembers the red ribbon she won, or at least she thinks it was hers.
"But I don't know if it really was . . . or if they just gave it to me. And I always had lambs and calves at [school] pet days and they have all gone through to the show."
Children's animal husbandry is encouraged at the show with classes to judge their handling animal skills and their understanding of the stock they are leading around the ring.
The Jordan family is always involved in the show and this year a worker and her children are involved, too, entering some of the jersey calves.
"My nieces Kate and Paula will bring the charolais cattle and my partner Graham is taking sheep along."
Graham is also co-ordinating a "gift sheep" fundraising competition. People can go in a draw to win one of 19 prizes by donating a lamb, a prime sheep or $100. The animals will be judged on hoof and on hook, and prizes range from a $1000 travel voucher to a $200 meal voucher. The true winner, though, will be the Nelson-Marlborough Helicopter Trust, selected to take a percentage of the profits.
A&P shows bring a community together, Christina says. The one in Blenheim is held on grounds owned by the Marlborough District Council and supported by many local businesses. "We value those loyal businesses that have sponsored us. We rely on sponsors heavily - that and good [gate] takings."
The show starts at 8am each day and Christina says there will be something for everyone. Horse and home industry entries are high this year, the competitive wood chopping includes the South Island championships, and a free children's area will keep young ones amused when they have spent all their pocket money on carnival rides.
Tickets available at the gate Adults $15. Family $30. Student $5. Under 5s free.
- The Marlborough Express