When my boyfriend and I trudged through the rain I had relatively high expectations.
But on entry, the first impost of $25 for myself and $18.50 for his student concession had us reeling.
This was only the beginning.
The carnival atmosphere we can adapt to, the $45 for an emergency umbrella we can accept. We can even cope with $4 for a piece of plastic to keep the deluge off.
But it was the constant bombardment of advertisers, megaphones bellowing, in many cases advertising messages, such as "FREE…" only to find it a lie each time.
Upon looking at the relevant stand dubious jewellery had $50 price tags. Followed by rip-off after rip-off, followed, by bootleg perfume stands, $3.50 muffins that are usually $2.50, and $6 hotdogs.
We didn’t even contemplate buying a show bags, having been forewarned by national newscasts advising of prices starting from upwards of $20 per bag.
The media expo was one of the most disappointing for us. Expo on the media indeed! There were several facades with radio and TV banners emblazoned on them.
Upon closer scrutiny we found the announcers, sometimes called "celebrities," were caged and keen not to make contact.
In one case, my boyfriend spotted a celebrity on the loose, in the confines of the stand area. However they scuttled away nervously, and avoided eye contact.
The News Limited “stand” was simply an affront for an overpriced news agency. The media clearly needs to be kicked in the cods a few times more, before they get the idea of what true public relations is all about.
A small attempt was made to appease the fans; an “opportunity” to stand in line and pay $15 for a photo of a wannabe “superstar”, but then again, we could have paid only $10 for a photo with a real animal, with wool and all. At least the animals were not up themselves.
Oh, let me get to the rides. What memories we have of the big wheel!
Well, this time if we wanted to go on rides, we would need to purchase a deck of coupons. How tempted we were not to buy 70 coupons for a mere $50. For those prices we should have taken the offer, and hopped on the train, circling the showground for the rest of the day.
Just to show I am not a completely jaded cynic, we had several friendly interactions with excellent country folk including the sheep dog lady, horse trainer and sheep-shearer. The country folk seemed genuinely bemused at the blatant commercialism too.
I know tradition and history are old-fashioned concepts these days; but let’s call to mind goodwill and the Royal Agricultural Society’s concepts of old.
These once included the tradition of bringing the country to the city, wholesome entertainment, and fun accessible to all. This spirit has previously been synonymous not only with the Easter Show, but the entire Easter Passover time.
Is someone able to address and focus on the caring that people still love and thrive on?