Weekend proposal for Rocky Show
DECADES of tradition could be swept away next year if councillors agree to a suggestion to move Rockhampton Show to the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
The show is normally held midweek and workers and school pupils in the city enjoy a day off on Wednesday so they can sample its time-honoured delights.
But the showmen who bring the rides, showbags, entertainment and dagwood dogs say it is not sustainable any longer unless the dates are shifted.
The Showmens Guild of Australia has written to Rockhampton Regional Council to say that the traditional Tuesday to Thursday format is not commercially viable and it has grave concerns about the show’s future.
Guild secretary George Pink says, “In days gone by we had two good days trading due to local and regional holidays. This is no longer the case. Commercial viability dictates that our members cannot maintain transporting more than $30 million worth of equipment to a major regional city for merely one day trading.”
Councillors are being advised to agree to a proposal which would create a four day show in 2012, starting on Friday, June 8 and concluding on Monday, June 11 – the Queen’s Birthday public holiday.
If the suggestion is supported, the council will also ask the Queensland Government to approve Friday, June 15 as a public holiday in the regional council area, subject to the Yeppoon Show Society changing the date of its annual show to that weekend.
In his advice to councillors, Tom Upton, the general manager of community services says the changes could revitalise the region’s shows and create a carnival atmosphere for more than a week.
“By having the two shows in our region over two weekends we keep the guild members, itinerant traders and competitors in our region for an additional week instead of them heading to Mackay,” he says in a report.
“This is real tourism dollars for the city and the region,” he says, warning that if the council doesn’t agree the showmen might run their own, separate carnival over the weekend in direct competition to both Rockhampton and Yeppoon shows.
When Townsville moved its show from midweek to the weekend attendances soared from 80,000 to 110,000.
- Attendances have risen in recent years, from 24,000 in 2009 to 28,185 this year.
- In addition to the fair, sideshow alley and traditional show food, there are sections for cake decorating and cookery, photography, beef cattle, horses, goats, fine art and woodchopping.