Sights, smells and sounds attract crowds at the Ballarat Show


A BLAST of icy wind and a smattering of rain couldn’t keep the crowds away from the first day of the 2012 Ballarat Show yesterday.

For the 146th time, the Ballarat Showgrounds threw open the gates to thousands of show goers, as families flocked to the annual three-day event.

There’s certainly something about a show that keeps people coming back year after year, but it’s difficult to determine exactly what the charm is.

Is it the wafting smells of hot jam doughnuts and dagwood dogs filling the air?

Is it the calls echoing across the showground to “try your luck” from the many and varied side-show game stall attendants? 

Perhaps it’s the pressure poured onto boyfriends and husbands as they pass those teddy-bear clad stalls, with taunts of “mate surely you can win one for her” never far away.

It could be the charm of the baking competitions, the thrill of the dodge-em cars or perhaps the G-forces of the larger rides.

There’s the lure of the cute and cuddly animals, the spectacle of the fireworks and of course the precision of the livestock judging.

Is it the excitement of spending $5 to win a 50 cent prize? 

Could it be the adrenalin rush being strapped in to a large hydraulic machine – itself strapped to a truck – and being hurled through the air for three minutes?

Perhaps it’s the charm of the carnival folk themselves. Lovingly labelled “carnies”, these friendly people have a twinkle in their eye and some of the smoothest catch-phrases ever uttered in Australia.

Ballarat's 146th Show Day kicked off yesterday.

Ballarat's 146th Show Day kicked off yesterday.

These might not be the reasons why thousands each year visit the Ballarat Show and others like it all over Victoria.

But they sure work for me.