Day of the year for Flaxbourne

KAT DUGGAN
Last updated 13:25 24/03/2014

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For born and bred Ward men Jack Taylor and Tom Hickman, the means of getting to the annual Flaxbourne A & P Show have changed somewhat.

The pair, both 85, clearly remember riding their horses to the show, before riding them home and returning to town again for the dance.

"It's been the main day of the year here, and then the big dance of the year was always on show night, that was a big dance," Mr Hickman said.

Starting in 1923, the long-time friends were not around for the first show, but have been to every show for as long as they could remember, bar one for Mr Taylor who was sick one year and couldn't make it.

Despite a change in times and a growing array of entertainment for the crowd, the men are moving with the times and still think "it's a great show".

"We've been here all our lives and we are very proud of our show," Mr Hickman said.

Their pride in their area is evident through the amount of time and effort they have put into documenting its history for generations to come.

Mr Taylor was in charge of the book stall on Sunday, which had seven books on the Flaxbourne areas, including some he had written or contributed to. He had spent years collating information for his book, but it was not a big effort because he enjoyed doing it, he said.

"For the younger generations, we know a lot of it but now it's on record, that's tremendous, Jack's done a great job on that part," Mr Hickman said.

"It's not only me, we've got a very small museum and we get a heck of a lot of stuff and it's too small now," Mr Taylor added.

In their time, the main changes at the show had been a change in focus from horses, cattle and sheep to rides, craft stalls and entertainment, they said.

Visiting crowds had also changed, with many more coming from Blenheim for the show, as opposed to early shows when 90 per cent of crowd were from the Flaxbourne district.

Show secretary Bernadette Gilmore said about 1500 people attended the show yesterday. "The gate was up so the crowds were up on last year . . . it was a very good day."

Show president Chris Redwood said this year's event had attracted more trade tents than usual, and the sheep section had been the biggest to date.

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- The Marlborough Express

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