THE two-day Tamworth Show officially starts at the showground this morning.
Yesterday organisers spent the day putting the finishing touches to the show pavilion and along sideshow alley.
Entrants in the perishable vegetable and gardening categories made a last-minute dash to drop their entries in time for the judging, and students from local schools busily prepared cattle yesterday in the lead-up to their parading events today.
Tamworth Pastoral and Agricultural Association president John Rodd said showgoers could expect a jam-packed two days.
“Lots of shows are dropping back to two days and offering more in the two days than having three days and lower patronage on the Sunday,” he said.
Today is being billed as schools’ day.
“We’re expecting about 400 school kids in the junior judging and parading sections, which is a really healthy number,” Mr Rodd said.
Tonight there will be a full rodeo program and the fun in the arena will continue tomorrow night. Tomorrow will be family day.
“There will be plenty of entertainment,” Mr Rodd said.
“The inter-school steer-riding competition, brought in with huge success to the show program last year, is back again.”
The pavilion’s been busy, too.
This year there are 22 categories, ranging from beading and cooking to cakes, gardening and school art.
While entries in some of the more traditional crafts are down, children are keeping entries in almost every other category up.
Chief steward Margaret Crowell said she was particularly impressed by the number of entries from local children.
She said thanks to the growing interest created by reality television cooking shows like My Kitchen Rules and Masterchef, many entries this year were in the cooking classes.
“We have entries in the cooking section from children as young as three years old. They have made crackles and decorated milk arrowroot biscuits,” she said.
Cooking entries in the other classes, which go all the way up to 16 years old, have also been hugely popular.
“They have done some amazing things,” Mrs Crowell said.
Among the other must-sees in the pavilion are those in the champion decorated cake.
The winning cake, described by Mrs Crowell as “traditional” and decorated by local woman Chick Grover, was awarded the championship ribbon in its class yesterday.
“The floral work on it is just too beautiful and fine,” she said.
Mrs Crowell said other drawcards would include the “beautiful” flowers, including some large dahlias brought down by a Uralla grower, and the children’s art section.
“There are some amazing works,” she said.
This is the 140th year of the show and for the past 10 years it has been a three-day event. The decision to reduce the show to two days came from what organisers said were “technological distractions, competition from sporting events and other things”.