An ode to the Royal Easter Show

The rides at the Sydney Royal Easter Show are always a hit – but there's much more to the show, which is celebrating its bicentennial this year. Photo: Tileah Dobson.

Tileah Dobson pens a love letter to the Royal Easter Show, which is extra special this year, with the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW celebrating its 200th anniversary.

Most people have a favourite holiday or time of year. There are some who love the festive season and getting into a Christmas ham-induced food coma. Others prefer drinking Guinness on St Patrick’s Day or barracking for their side in the NRL Grand Final.

My personal favourite is Easter, for two main reasons: all the chocolate I could want and the Sydney Royal Easter Show. I’ve been going to the Easter Show every year since I was a kid. Of course, I’m an adult now, with adult money and an adult mind, but I still love the rides and the show still has me in its thrall.

The year’s show has special significance, as it is the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW’s (RAS) 200th anniversary. (It’s not quite the show’s 200th anniversary, though: various events have forced a handful of cancellations, including the Spanish flu outbreak in 1919, World War II and the Covid-19 outbreak, which scuppered the 2020 show.)

To celebrate the bicentennial, the RAS has commemorative products including celebratory wine, a book and even a medallion. There are also novelty cakes being sold at the show, always a win in my book.

Having been formed in 1822, the RAS’s core aim was to educate the colonists, along with uniting to conduct business and exchange ideas. To this day, the RAS is still seen as the guardian of the state’s agricultural sector.

Many small businesses attend the show to promote their products, from items aimed at children to wine for adults. While I don’t drink wine, I do enjoy tea and managed to find a booth that sold environmentally friendly tea.

Mona Webb from Neo Australia – an Australian company making natural herbal, Ayurvedic teas and skincare products – has been coming to the show for eighteen years and to mark the show’s anniversary, Webb’s booth is giving out a free tea bottle with purchases.

With a wide range of teas, Mona’s business has enjoyed 18 years at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Photo: Tileah Dobson.

“They’re little glass bottles with stainless steel infusers so people get to drink tea on the go, and we fill it for free as well,” Webb said.

“Some of the ingredients are Australian grown but like the black tea comes from Sri Lanka and it’s fair trade so we look after everyone. We don’t use plastic. Even our refill bags are biodegradable.”

Webb’s booth wasn’t the only eco-friendly one I encountered. I also discovered a cute little booth near the show’s entrance showcasing a wide range of re-useable goods. Ethan, a 17-year-old, happily explained the ethos behind the business, #untrashy: “It’s all about reusable products to help reduce single-use plastics for a more sustainable planet,” he said.

Having been around for three years, #untrashy supports organisations like Save Our Coast and the Australian Seabird & Turtle Rescue. Popping up all over different markets around Sydney, you can find #untrashy peddling wares like silicone un-smashable squishy cups, cotton mesh veggie bags, stainless steel clothes pegs and even re-usable q-tips.

The RAS has prided itself on educating the public about agricultural products since it was founded in 1822. Video: Sydney Sentinel/YouTube.

Despite being childless, that didn’t stop me from wandering into the children’s pavilion and seeing all the cool stuff on offer. I found some cute stuffed boba plushies, along with different coloured and scented slimes from a booth called Scoopi Slimes.

Casper, who ran the booth, was happy to talk about her products, which, while mostly aimed at kids, also help adults with anxiety and stress.

“So, our businesses, Scoopi Slimes is around slimes, plushies, fidgets, toys, anything regarding kids’ fun and play. But with a bit of a more modern twist to it,” Casper said.

Only their second time to the Easter Show after having a sell-out last year, Casper said they were better prepared with more stock this year.

“Last year we ended up selling out in the first few days and we had to bring everything back in. So, this year we’ve done a much bigger stocking of slimes, so we’re hoping to sell a lot more this year.”

“Nothing hits the spot quite like sipping down freshly squeezed lemonade after winning a baby Yoda plushie doll from a carnival game.”

– Tileah Dobson

As a child, I enjoyed the rides of the Easter Show more – but now as an adult, I actually find myself preferring the quieter pavilions. I love seeing all the artwork, the animals and the food stalls. Nothing hits the spot quite like sipping down freshly squeezed lemonade after winning a baby Yoda plushie doll from a carnival game.

The RAS has marked its anniversary in various ways, from medallions and cakes to gorgeous displays throughout the pavilions. Photo: Tileah Dobson.

I even went around to some of the carnival games and won prizes but gave them to nearby kids who were beyond grateful. Meanwhile, patting some adorable ragdoll cats and seeing the sleeping kittens just hit me in my cat lady spot.

The Sydney Royal Easter Show has a special place in my heart, and I honestly believe I’ll keep going until I either die or move to another country.

There are only a few days left of the show and for parents wanting cheaper tickets, go on Kid’s Day where tickets are reduced from $28 to $12.

Enjoy the show and have a wonderful Easter!

The Sydney Royal Easter show is being held at the Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park, until Tuesday, 19 April, 2022. For more information, visit www.eastershow.com.au.

Tileah Dobson is the news editor and sub-editor of the Sydney Sentinel.

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