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Perth Royal Show

The Perth Royal Show is an annual show held in Perth, Western Australia at the Claremont Showgrounds. It features informational exhibits, agricultural competitions and display animals, a fairground and rides, and showbags. It has been held for over 100 years and is organised by the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia. It currently occurs during the spring school holidays (either the last week of September or the first week of October) and attracts around 500,000 people a year.

History

The Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia, established 1831, has held the annual show at the Claremont grounds since 1894. The Show has been named an icon of Western Australia.

The primary purpose of the Show was to showcase western Australia industry, primarily agriculture. It has been the venue for the display of new animal breeds and sports.

The first Show included equestrian events, sheep dog trials, wood chopping, and prizes for cattle and sheep. These events are still part of the Show today.

The Modern Show

Transport and parking

The Show attracts around 500,000 people. This has created new problems for the Claremont venue, which was selected over 100 years ago.

Parking at the Show is notoriously difficult. To facilitate the growth of the Show, parking space is hired on private front lawns and school / club parking lots in areas proximate to the Show. This activity is community natured, and is often organised by school children or run as a fundraiser for a school or club.

A rail station at the grounds is open for the brief period of the Show. The Fremantle line on the public transport system provides transport during the Show and other notable events at the Showgrounds. A bus service also operates to the nearby area. A Family going to the show can purchase a FamilyRider ticket from the ticket machines located at Showgrounds Station or on the bus.

Showbags and Sideshow Alley

The scope of the Show has also expanded. Although it includes traditional events – such as animal competitions – its agricultural focus has been somewhat replaced by a commercial fairground atmosphere.

The ‘showbag,’ which became part of Australian shows as an advertising gimmick, are now sold at $1 to $75 each and contain a number of cheap novelty toys and candy. Showbags are related to a particular candy product, television show, brand name (e.g. Coca-Cola), or may be ‘jumbo’ bags containing a number of brands (e.g. ‘the Mighty Mammomth’ bag). They are a focal point of the Show for many younger children.

The Show also hosts a sideshow alley. Rides are paid for at the venue. Rides include several haunted houses and dodgem cars, among others. The show features the Python Loop, which is a medium-sized roller coaster . Sideshow Alley also features numerous show games. These include fishing, shooting, and tossing games. In fishing games the player must use a fishing rod to fish out a small plastic duck or other object, which has a prize number on the bottom. Shooting games, common at many shows, involve shooting down tin cans using a low-powered air rifle and usually, corks as ammunition. ‘Tossing’ games involve throwing balls into buckets.

Shows and performances

An entry fee applies to enter the grounds. This fee covers the more ‘traditional’ aspects of the show in providing information to Western Australians. For example, free events at the show include:

  • Various events in the main arena including wood-chopping, equestrian events such as horse racing and – more recently - monster trucks
  • A large number of various shows in pavilions, exhibiting such things as animals (including sheep, alpacas, cats, dogs, chickens and goats) and new products (foodstuffs, gardening and household tools and massages are common displays).

The fee also covers such events as

  • The Peters and Brownes Fireworks Spectacular, starting every night at 9pm
  • The 'Yellow Brick Road' (costs $6), which consists of a yellow cardboard box or bag (the 'brick'), a few food items, a checklist and a map. Following the map takes the showgoer to various 'stations' around the IGA Fresh Food Pavilion where a sample of some sort of food can be obtained upon presentation of the checklist. In recent years, Girl Guides have operated these stalls. Common food available include fruit, cooked sausages, Guide Biscuits, orange juice and fried mushrooms.

Funding the show

The show was originally funded entirely by the Royal Agricultural Society. The current show is funded by the Society, the Western Australian Government, visitors' entry fees, competitors' fees, and commercial sponsorships.

Government funding has been used to lower entry fees rather than provide an extra revenue stream. In September 2004, the Gallop Labor government announced that children would receive free entry to the 100th Perth Royal Show. This occurred through coupons offered in the weekly Sunday Times newspaper (rather than the daily paper, The West Australian). The gesture was to mark the naming of the Royal Show in a list of "Icons" for the 175th anniversary of Western Australia's self-governance.

References

External links

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