THE countdown is almost over.
Tomorrow, the gates to the Gordon War Memorial Oval will swing open and the showgrounds will come alive as residents welcome one of the biggest events on the town’s calendar – the 142nd annual Millicent AH&P Show.
While there will be a buzz of excitement surrounding the event’s traditional attractions, including sideshow alley, the motocross and demo derby, crowds can also expect to see a number of new additions to this year’s program.
Yesterday, Millicent Show Society assistant secretary Lynne Stupple told The South Eastern Times preparation for the event was well under way.
“It’s coming along together really nicely,” she said.
“We are expecting this year’s show will be bigger and better than previous years.
“Last year we had in excess of 4000 people come through the gates over the two days and this year I’m expecting with the added attractions that we have this year we will not have any trouble beating that.
“We have had a lot of favourable comments from people about our location and the fact we are informal, family-orientated and affordable.
“Once people walk through the gates, they do not have to spend any money, they can bring their own picnic if they want too – we do not mind.
“They can come and chill out and enjoy the green grass and the animals – there is something for everyone.”
Festivities will start at 1pm and the popular and spectacular motocross show is expected to draw crowds from 3pm onwards, as is the impressive fireworks display at 9pm.
Any Other Sunday will play in the shearing shed until midnight when the gates will close in preparation for a jam-packed day of fun on Saturday.
Saturday’s timetable boasts a number of attractions and events, including shearing and wool handling competitions, show jumping, circus performances and unique vehicle and stationary engine displays.
The new and improved animal nursery will be open all weekend and people can get up close and cuddle the cutest of the farmyard gang, including calves, a pony, a donkey, sheep, goat, piglets, rabbits and perhaps the “not so cuddly” snakes.
“It’s more than just coming down and having a look at the animals,” Millicent Show Society member and volunteer Tina Keatley said.
“This is an opportunity for people to learn about the animals.
“We will have fact sheets, so it is more an interactive learning attraction as well.
“We also have two calves, so people will have the opportunity to bottle feed them.”
Foodies will be in for a treat with more food trailers on offer than previous years, including pulled pork and coleslaw, yiros, waffles and the traditional burgers, hot chips, doughnuts and fairy floss.
However, people might not want to be tempted before they check out sideshow alley with a number of dare devilish rides for the not-so-fainthearted, including the Kamikaze, Aladdin and the Extreme Thriller.
For those feeling not so brave, there are the teacups or the Ferris wheel.
At the centrepiece of this year’s show will be the Millicent Country Fire Service (CFS), which will put on a demonstration.
Meanwhile, there will also be a new event in the lawnmower racing, which will see the humble lawnmower transformed into a speed machine from midday Saturday.
The demo derby is also set to catch the attention of any rev heads from 3.15pm.
This year the derby celebrates an impressive milestone, as it is over 20 years ago the then show society president Ron Thompson approached Jim Garner to stage an event at the annual show as entertainment for the public.
At the time, Jim was known as the demolition derby king of Australia, competing at stadiums and speedways across the country and coordinating events in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide.
Since then he has maintained his reputation and won three demolition derby’s over the two-decade period.
As part of the derby, about eight cars are prepared from Jim’s wrecking yard for the event and outside entries are also accepted.
All cars are stripped of all glass and flammable materials, a steel plate is placed in the driver’s door and a roll cage and kill switch is also fitted.
A small section of the oval is used and vehicles hit at low speeds until only one is mobile.
This year’s event will be held on Saturday around 3.15pm.
Festivities will wrap up on Sunday with show jumping and the country kids fun ring.