South Taranaki Star
Farmers, children and organisers are praying for a sunny two weeks as A&P Show fever hits Taranaki.
Events start on Tuesday at Waverley's Dallison Park, continue in Hawera on Friday November 16 and Saturday November 17 and move to Stratford for Saturday and Sunday November 24 and 25.
Waverley A and P Association president Grant Gulliver said organisers were looking forward to another strong year of trade displays and fun in the sun.
Egmont A and P Association president David Turner said that it had poured more money into the Hawera entertainment budget this year, securing top-level performers the Topp Twins in the hopes of drawing in the punters.
Stratford A and P Association secretary Christine Hughes said its two-day show would be looking a little bit royal this year as it hosted two royal events.
Waverley's Mr Gulliver said punters were looking forward to the always-popular calf and lamb showing events as well as trade stalls and the fencing competition.
"We generally fill the trade sites every year," he said.
The fencing competition, in its 25th year, is a major drawcard.
Competition organiser Stephen Hooper said it had become more competitive.
"When we first started we were just getting a lot of local fellas," he said. But now fencers come from as far as Marton.
At Hawera, as well as Kiwi country super-star sisters The Topp Twins, Roadsafe Taranaki will have a large interactive site including crash rescue demonstrations and a tyre-changing competition.
Roadsafe Taranaki's Marion Webby said it would be an interesting site keeping in line with the show's "Be Safe, Drive Safe" theme.
As well as a rock-climbing wall, one of the biggest draw-cards will be the Hawera Volunteer Fire Brigade's crash rescue team giving demonstrations and cutting up cars at 12.15pm both days.
"It's going to involve the Hawera Fire Rescue Crew, police, St John ambulance, Hawera High School drama students and Hardings undertakers.
The idea is to offer something for everyone.
"They might not want to visit all of us but we want it to be as interactive as possible to cater for different age brackets," Ms Webby said.
"It's very hard to sell road safety. People don't want to hear the education messages because it's not them, that's the bad drivers."
Egmont A&P's David Turner said the Egmont show was still going strong with 102
outdoor and 22 indoor trade sites.
"We've a good strong team behind us and a very active executive and show committee."
He said that had kept the event as one of the annual premier farming events for Taranaki.
Stratford's Christine Hughes said the dairy animals on show from Waikato, Manawatu, Wairarapa and Ashburton were sure to impress.
With more than 100 pigs on display from throughout the North Island it was promising to be every bit as exciting as usual.
She said the secret to Taranaki's strong A&P Show turn-outs was entertainment.
"We have learnt that we have to entertain the public when they are here," she said.
Equestrian and dairy stock is not enough to bring a crowd anymore.
"You need to have the wow factor so that when they go away, they want to come back next year."
It is also important to entertain the whole family. With more than 100 trade stalls this year, they will be trying their best to do that.
As well as the usual sheepdog trials, shearing, dancing and equestrian events a couple of big name performers will help to pull the crowds in.
"For the family we have got pig racing," she said. "It's something everyone enjoys. We have got Greg Clarke from Warkworth with the sheep racing and we've got Ken White from the Rai Valley, South Island, and he's going to be herding ducks with the sheep dogs."