It's taken me nearly a decade of living in Sydney to do it but it's finally happened. Preschooler SSG and I took advantage of the perfect Easter long weekend weather and went with some friends to the Sydney Royal Easter Show on Monday.
Our tickets included free return public transport to the show grounds which pleased Preschooler SSG no end because we got to ride three trains including a special show grounds service which was jam packed with fellow show goers. The mood was jovial, the sense of anticipation was high and all the parents sitting in my carriage looked mighty pleased with themselves to be show bound so early on a public holiday Monday.
See what I mean about the perfect weather?
Our first stop was the wristband station where volunteers wrote our mobile numbers onto orange bands that our children then wore as a precaution. I strapped Preschooler SSG's band onto his wrist and gave it little thought until I walked past the 'lost children' office a while later and saw just how many children managed to get lost by early afternoon. Great idea, show organisers and it was good to see such a high uptake of the service by families visiting the show.
My friends and I deliberately steered the boys towards the animal and produce pavilions early. Part of it was a selfish desire to avoid as many tantrums over sugary food and land fill type toys as possible but the main reason was that we wanted them to see at least a little of the farming past, present and future of our country.
We know that we're raising city kids but we would also like them to learn about the land and the people who use it to feed and clothe us.
Preschooler SSG was fascinated by all the animals around us and charmed by the universally friendly and helpful people who helped us and answered our questions as we made our way around the enclosures.
The competition chickens were housed according to breed and I have to admit to being ignorant of just how beautiful their feathers are and also to the great diversity in appearance among the different breeds.
We got to see newly hatched chicks
and some of us got to touch them.
Surprisingly, the goat judging went down well with the preschoolers. I wonder if they saw something of their own rebellious streaks and strong wills in the goats as they prepared for competition?
The numbers, the ribbons and the routine of each competition had the boys' attention for just enough time for their parents to rest their legs and have a sip of water in the shade.
While Preschooler SSG was perfectly content with watching the animals from behind their stalls and barricades, going up to feed them was another matter.
He's still quite afraid of 'big animals' partly because of the 'big bad dog' who stole his babycino at the park the other week. I'm not making this up. The dogs in our neighbourhood not only recognise coffee cups, they know how to pick them up, remove their lids and drink out of them. I'm not sure how I can mend relations between Preschooler SSG and larger animals but in the mean time, he's still very happy to wave and chat with 'small dogs'.
The Woolworths Pavilion was full of all sorts of interesting displays and interactive areas.
Sydney Water provided stations where water bottles could be refilled as well as dispensers full of their finest spiked with the flavours of fresh fruit.
There were spiralized apples to sample. So much more appealing than when one's mother roughly chops one up for you and tries to encourage you to eat it.
Preschooler SSG got to collect some wheat and mill it in another area of the pavilion.
He then 'returned' his flour to the 'grainery' and received some dough which he then used to make 'pasta' and 'bread'.
There was also a pretend market and kitchen to explore.
Here's the milk travelling off to be pasteurised.
I don't know if it's just me but I felt as if the agricultural component of the show probably only took up a quarter of the space of the show ground. My eyes managed to rest on food stalls, show bags and rides wherever I looked.
Speaking of the latter, we stopped for lunch on our way out of the show grounds.
On show day, it's perfectly acceptable to have a burger and chips for lunch.
I know it should've been a dagwood dog and one (or two) of those chips on a stick but we had hungry preschoolers in tow and we needed to eat somewhere in direct line of sight to their beloved ice cream truck.
And then we were on our way home. But not before being entranced by the rides.
The spectacle of their colour and constant motion against the suddenly cloudy sky
as well as the awe inspiring heights and speeds that they reached far, far above us.
The boys didn't want show bags but they did want to play this ball netting game.
This is Mia the Hello Kitty Mermaid that Preschooler SSG won. Don't ask me why he called her Mia but that's her name. Mia's been fed fairy floss, Easter eggs and some of the noodles and vegetables Preschooler SSG was supposed to have eaten before that other stuff. She's now safely tucked up in bed waiting for Preschooler SSG to return home this afternoon.
Did you visit The Easter Show this year? Were the chips on a stick all that?