Friday, August 18, 2006

Brisbane in Focus (BiF) - The Ekka

Its Ekka time in Brisbane. In August the wind swings 'round to the west and the country comes to town for the Royal Queensland Show - known colloquially as The Ekka, short for The Exhibition. Begun in 1876, the Ekka showcases local and state agriculture, pastoral farming and industry and also performed an important social role in bringing together the city folk with their country cousins. The fabulous pineapple trophy pictured above from c1910 is an example of the Ekka glory days. To read more about the history of the Ekka, the Queensland Government has some great articles and historical pictures, here.

Today, there's still plenty of country action: wood chopping, a seemingly endless array of cows, bulls and chickens and plenty of Blundstones and Akubras milling around....

Then there was us: The Wrecker, The Accordion and myself, The Windbag, roaming amongst them with our pink hair and toxic green cardigan (me), funny Austrian style cap and orange ensemble (The Wrecker), and coconut husk hat and geek spectacles (The Accordion). Yep, those cowpokes got their money's worth when we walked by. "WTF was that!" ...you could see it in their eyes. There was definitely some social impacting going on.

But we weren't the only strange people getting about The Ekka. The first display we encountered on entering was a street art troupe. I couldn't work these guys out for the longest time; but the kids seemed to love them, laughing and giggling in the most over the top way. There was no explaining it...but then I remembered all the lollies and dagwood dogs they were munching on and it all began to make sense. I made a mental note for future exploitation that street art is improved with the right consumables.....

Much later, I realised that they were cursors pointing the way...no wonder the kids got it!


Being a country show we saw lots of cows. We even saw them being tickled on their bellies with long sticks while they waited to be paraded in front of the white robed judges. We debated at length as to the function of tickling cows, however, in the end we concluded it must be for soothing them through the anxieties of judging....we hope.

I did take a few photos of cows but I thought this one was the best, particularly as it managed to find itself in such a precarious position!

After seeing the cows and the horses and the pet food displays (hey! I didn't pay bucks to go to the supermarket) and some unfortunate dogs in acrylic capsules. We thought it was time to hit the buzz end. So we went in search of every City Slickers best friend, Expresso. After turning down the instant coffee in Styrofoam cup option we finally stumbled upon a homegrown Queensland barrista, Australian Estate Coffee, serving up their own beans - very nice. We agreed that it had the pleasant taste of Macadamia nut about it (well, after all, it is the Queensland nut!). After hunkering down on the edge of a brick planter facing a wall we downed our coffee and The Accordion's roasted chilly corn and it was off again to find cultural curios of blog worthy attention.

We trawled through the art and craft exhibits and then made our way to the international food area for lunch. The Wrecker and I had crumbed squid and The Accordion found himself some fried bread..yum. There wasn't many options besides fried and so we took up the spirit of the day and tucked into our respective repasts with relish while watching more cow flavour on parade.

Finally, we thought it was time to check out The Alley! - Sideshow Alley, that is. Here's were the camera got a good work out as The Accordion and I compared shots. This suited my budget perfectly, all the fun of the ride but none of the hip pocket pain. I walked away with their souls and nobody thought to ask for payment..hahhahahahhhhaaa.

Here are some of the highlights.









I want to end with Berty Beetle, Ekka icon, because Berty Beetle is the cheapest showbag at The Ekka, starting at just $2, he sums up my day - sometimes the most fun is when you make your own:D (Viva la Blog!)


10 comments:

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Thanks for telling me about the Ekka, and printing those great pictures. See you after my vacation.

Ramona said...

I was born in Brisvegas and spent my first couple of years there - Ekka is one of my first and fondest memories! It looks like it hasn't changed all that much. Glad to hear that there is still a showbag under $15! I remember the freddo frog one, everything melted before we got home - Tragedy

Florence said...

JL, fun a great time in Torquay:D

Ramona, ahhh! your're a banana bender under the skin after all. I was so cheap I didn't even by a Berty Beetle bag. But when I was young I looked at all the kids with their show bags..they looked like they had had a great time. I believe my dad allowed us to by a freddo bag too...he was the 'lets bring our own lunch' kind of dad...I guess more of him has rubbed off on me than I would have liked :/

W J Kington said...

You forgot to mention the UFO incident. Yup there was a UFO. I bought it. I currently have a competition at my workplace, the first person to make it fly wins a prize.

The Accordian.

Erifia Apoc said...

What are those aliens with points?! And that giant land animal on the roof! How'd it get there?! It could eat someone! What about that weird green-haired creature!? That's a human...
But that next think looks like a human-rancor child, and the one after looks like one the bograts grew to intense size, and devolped scales. What does this human sentance, '3 down wings pick of stand.' I don't get it, and why is some weird old lady holding it.
No kermit!!!!!!! They are killing him!!!!!! What the frell is that picture next to kermit... It looks like a leviathan...
And those are... Wookies! Ha! Wookie kings riding giant sea bass...
And droids... I hope you killed them. I would hate to have to come to this earth place to kill two droids.
And a bug man... You humans are so interesting...

(Author's note - Looks like you had fun.)

Rebecca-the-Wrecker said...

Great pictures Flo! It's almost like i was there!!

Merlyn Gabriel said...

Sounds like you have a lot of fun!!! The photos are awesome but the upside down kermits are a little disturbing! They look like they are all screaming for help!

anyways... hope your weekend was loads of fun!

xxxxxxxs and oooooooooos
merly

shannon said...

I love the Ekka in a distant kind of way- now I have a baby my Ekka days might be looming on the horizon once more. When I was 12 I won second prize at the Ekka craft exhibits for crotcheting a brown and white beret with cables on it. It was one of my proud early acheivements! The prize was $20.

Beck said...

and here I was thinking that the Childers festival had some of the weirdest and wackiest scenes in QLD... your excellent ekka photo gallery tells a very different story - and makes me wish I was there perusing the array of rooftop cows, upside down kermits and skivvy clad street performers with you! I grew up in country victoria, so i'm well used to the special look reserved for we weirdo's when we get out amongst the regular folk - I would have been the one with bright red pippi longstocking plaits and stripey tights.

Florence Forrest said...

That's right there was a ufo. The Accordion was an easy mark for the sly show folk. He bought a hovering magnetic top; the catch was that it required just the right delicate weighting which could change with atmospheric effects, and also need a practised hand at the twisting of the top into its perfectly balanced flight. But it all seemed so easy at the time that none of those factors in antyway a posed a possible problem for The Accordion! He spent $20 on it...then later found it in the Show bag section for $15! Taking it out of its box at the end of the day proved to be a dispiriting discovery of its difficulty in operation, the UFO would neither float nor spin, but rather crunched ungainly upon its hover pad.

I had chosen to not mention this incident so as not to embarrass The Accordion...but since he's mentioned it...:)

The Kermits where very disconcerting! I thought the very same. Help!!!!

Did you know that those green haired wookie like creatures riding the Sail Fish is the Dolfin Derby that was promised in a sign advertising The Ekka. But I don't see any dolfins, do you?...but this stand is a classic, they don't make them like that anymore.

Thanks everyone for your great comments. I hope to do more Brisbane in Focus (BiFs) posts in the future so that we can all learn about the Brisbane Folk.