BEAUTIFUL and full of life, you wouldn’t know that Gail Kelly’s champion iris was rescued withered and ailing from a relative’s backyard just a few short months ago.
Crowned overall champion flower at this year’s Quirindi Show, Gail said she had a habit of turning around ailing plants with her green thumb.
“It was half-dead when I saw it, just a throw-away, but I loved it back to life,” she said.
It’s not the only magic touch Gail has, as the pavillion at the Quirindi showground is full of the 62-year-old’s craftwork and baking, many of which are prizewinners.
“I’m very passionate about a good country show,” she said.
It’s not all prizewinners and glory for the CWA cookery officer though, as Gail had baked three banana cakes for the competition and not one was up to scratch.
“They were an absolute flop this year. Lucky I can get rid of them on the girls at morning tea,” Gail said.
A gentleman baker has taken the show’s resident baking ladies by storm this year, creating controversy by embracing “reverse feminism” by entering against the girls.
“I’m putting myself up against the big guns,” laughed Caroona farmer Derek Blomfield, who was busily baking scones and anzac biscuits last week.
Derek was so busy in the kitchen, he used all the baking powder, leaving wife Kirrily without her cooking staple for her own entries.
The week before show week is like MasterChef in the Blomfield household, with Derek, Kirrily and boys Patrick, 9 and Reilly, 7, fighting for oven space, all baking winners in previous years.
Derek, who entered last year’s baking competition for the first time, said he believed patience and skill were the key to good cooking, and he didn’t believe he had either.
Rating his chances as “pretty slim,” Derek said he’d cleared a spot on the mantelpiece for his ribbons, hoping he’ll come home with the goods.
“You’re not a real man until you enter some scones in the show,” Derek said.
Derek said the whole family looks forward to the show and this year was no different, with organisers aiming for a revamp in efforts to return the show to its glory days.
Featuring attractions such as farmers’ markets and a celebrity cook-off, they will go hand-in-hand with old classics sideshow alley and traditional animal showing.
A new Showgirl will be crowned today by NSW Farmers’ president Fiona Simson at the official opening at 1pm. The contenders are local girls Courtney Steele, Alyssa Dart and Rebecca Cope.