A love of animal fleece is the driver for Anne Rogers who is this year’s President of the Canterbury A&P’s New Zealand Agricultural Show.
The show, being staged by the Canterbury A&P Association in its 160th anniversary year, is again expected to draw 100,000-plus visitors over the three days from November 15-17.
Show general manager Tracy Ahern says entries are expected to be similar to last year’s 5449 entries in 262 categories. She says there will be a big focus this year on sheep, wool and other natural fibres including alpaca and mohair.
“We will have an immersive 160 years’ celebration of wool, right from what it used to be 160 years ago, back to what it is now, and the innovative products that are now being made with wool.”
Live displays will include spinners and weavers and hand blade shearing demonstrations.
Among the large marquees now being erected on the site is a new “artisan pantry” that will highlight foods such as the 30 different handmade cheeses being made from different milks.
Ahern says they felt that the baby animals ‘farmyard’ for children, traditionally placed in a corner of the sheep pavilion, wasn’t really giving children a true farmyard experience so it has been completely revamped and expanded on a new site.
“We have a sheep milking pavilion where children will get to have a chance at milking a sheep and they’ll get to be able to try sheep milk butter on bread.”
Meanwhile, an educational trail starting from the cattle lawn will take children around a large loop to the new farmyard experience.
“We’re trying to create a real big zone that encourages youth aged eight to 20,” said Ahern. “I'm most proud this year of what we’re doing with the kids.”
New competitions will include farriers and axe-throwing.
Meanwhile, some new roading is being constructed, specifically to facilitate the annual Christchurch Santa Parade, to be held on the site on November 26.
With the framework of the major marquees now going up on the park, Ahern describes the preparations for the Show as “building a city.”
“The city that we build this year is not just going to be packed down within three days. It will actually stay up and facilitate the Santa Parade, which means that everybody who comes to the Santa Parade will have a better experience.”