Gympie show finishes on a high
THE 2014 Gympie Show will be remembered for many things: its amazing fireworks, the loss of Alain Henderson's voice, the absence of a ferris wheel and a crowd on Friday that defied the tough times.
Show Society president Joe Mooney and secretary Deb Rowlands yesterday thanked the Gympie region community and its many volunteers for again supporting what Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss says is the "best show in country Australia".
While numbers were slightly down on last year's show, they were up on 2012, and enough to please organisers in what has been a challenging year for the region.
Mr Mooney said the fruit and vegetable, and prime, stud and dairy sections had been "exceptional" given the impact of the drought.
This was the second year the fireworks were held on Friday and Saturday nights rather than Thursday, and Mrs Rowlands said this was something the Show Society would be looking at.
"Obviously there are still people who want the fireworks on Thursday, and this is something we will discuss at our next general meeting," she said.
Also high on the agenda will be the issue of seating for the rodeo, which was insufficient on Saturday night despite extra stands being brought in.
With seven other regional shows taking place in Queensland last weekend, plus four in New South Wales, Gympie organisers were pleased with the number of rides that made it to Sideshow Alley.
"We had all the big rides plus the brand new Freak Out," Mrs Rowlands said.
"The Showman's Guild has only got so much gear so really, it's a testament to Gympie that they think we are worth coming to."
Ring announcer Alain Henderson, whose voice is synonymous with the Gympie Show, was resting up yesterday after handing over the microphone about midday on Saturday.
Mr Henderson, who this year compered his 50th Gympie Show, bravely soldiered on through Friday night and Saturday morning after a busier than normal schedule in the ring, and despite his obviously deteriorating voice.
"Not many people realise Alain is here from 6am on show days until after the fireworks - and he commentates the whole time," Mrs Rowlands said.
"He was just a trooper."
This year's spectacular fireworks vindicated the Show Society's decision to change companies to Skylighter Fireworks, and were put on thanks to rural business couple Tom and Lyn Grady, who have faced their own challenges through the drought.
"They are amazing people and still put in so much. It was an awesome effort," Mrs Rowlands said.