Upgrade for A & P show venue to lure crowds

20:18, Feb 18 2013
Graham Calder
VENUE WORK: Southland A & P Association vice-president Graham Calder works on a new storage and display shed at Donovan Park.

Improvements are being made to Donovan Park in Invercargill to try to attract bigger crowds to this year's Southland A&P Show.

Entrant and spectator numbers were up last year after the show moved from Ascot Park racecourse to its new venue at Donovan Park.

Southland A&P Association vice-president Graham Calder said improvements were being made to the show.

There would be better power supply and less need for generators, as well as a new road for stock trucks, he said. A new storage shed to be used for trade displays was being built at the grounds.

Though show numbers were up last year, they were still down from previous years. Transport costs and staffing issues could be the reason why fewer people were attending the Invercargill-based show, he said.

Previously, farmers would hire a truck to transport stock but now they brought two or three elite animals in a trailer, he said.

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Staffing was also a problem, particularly for dairy farmers because the cows still needed to be milked, Mr Calder said.

He would not comment on how much money was being spent on the developments.

The show would feature traditional classes such as the dairy, beef and sheep competitions. The animals would be judged on quality and suitability for market.

Entries so far showed a trend toward higher meat-yielding sheep breeds rather than wool, Mr Calder said.

There would also be an animal petting zoo, live entertainment, trade displays, cooking demonstrations and food stalls.

"We hope the commercial farmer will come along to see what is around and see the animals and have a day out," he said.

Gates open from 8.30am to 5pm on Saturday, March 2. Cost: $10, children free under the supervision of parents, otherwise $5. Entries are still open for trade displays and exhibits.

The Southland Times