The Ekka 2017
Over the weekend, Ms22, Ms20, and I went to The Ekka 2017. Unfortunately, Miss16 could not join us. She had a sudden onset of fever with muscle and joint aches and pain. With the spike in influenza virus infections around the country, it’s likely she has influenza. I’m glad I just feel blergh and don’t have influenza.
Going to The Ekka has become an annual ‘thing’ for us. The Ekka or Royal Queensland Show or Show or Exhibition is like most other shows or what American friends may know as fairs (is that the correct spelling?). Only, The Ekka is better (IMHO). Far better than anything Sydney does at Easter and I have to ask, does Melbourne even have a show? Come on Melbourne lovers tell me about your show. I think Canberra has a show but I’ve never been or if I have, it wasn’t memorable. The Royal Easter Show in Sydney is okay and I enjoyed being there the twice I’ve been. When we lived in Darwin, there was the Darwin Show. I remember volunteering for the Territory Health Services booth and I gave out condoms and answered questions. My daughters entered their cooking creations into the cooking competitions. We’d see the animals and enjoy the sights and sounds of the show. Being a small show, it was something you could arrive in the morning, see everything and be home in time for a nap before dinner. The Ekka though is much bigger. It goes for 10 days and is jam packed with all sorts of events.
Now for people who don’t know me very well, the previous paragraph was deliberately provocative because I’m from Queensland and in my opinion everything from Queensland and the Northern Territory of Australia is better than anything else in Australia, if not the universe. Unfortunately, html has not progressed enough to demonstrate my facetiousness and sarcasm, hence this explanatory text as a block quote!
I flew from Canberra to Brisbane on a later than normal flight. The cost of flights in and out of Canberra is very expensive so I went with the cheapest fare which was a late flight. At the airport I had a plate of Massaman beef and rice with some polenta slaw.
I got into Brisbane and got an update on Miss16. She was obviously viræmic with fever, diaphoresis, cough, myalgia and headache. She would stay at her place and Ms22 would care for her overnight. This was a good decision. My parents don’t need exposure to an acutely unwell and infectious teenager.
Because I got in late, I had enough time to have a short catch up with Ms20, Mum and Dad and then a sleepless night coughing and worrying about Miss16.
I called Ms22 and Miss16 had a quiet night sleeping. Apparently Miss16 was feeling slightly better with a mild reduction in her headache and she was less febrile.
Ms20 and I decided to proceed to go out for breakfast and discuss the day’s plan. We walked over to Westfield Chermside and ventured through the new food pavilion. We spotted a Cafe 63 and agreed to have breakfast there. The menu has dishes with names. We thought it would be funny to have three Garys at the table. So we ordered a Gary each plus a Bircher Muesli to share. The Gary is basically a poached egg with Hollandaise sauce, smoked salmon, and (s)mashed avocado on toast. I’m glad we agreed to eat this before the muesli because the Bircher muesli was quite sweet and was like having a breakfast dessert. I’d happily recommend these dishes at any Cafe 63.
After breakfast I went to top up my Go Card for the bus ride and then we went to visit Miss16 on her sick bed.
The wheels on the bus go round and round…
In years gone by we would drive to Alderley Train Station, park and ride a train to The Ekka. Ms22 explained that there were road works near the train station and we’d be better off catching the Chermside 333 bus from the Chermside Bus Interchange to The Ekka.
The bus trip is pretty good with a service leaving every 15 minutes while The Ekka is on. We get off at Royal Brisbane and Womens Hospital in Herston and walked to the Royal National Association showgrounds which hosts The Ekka.
The showgrounds are close to the Queensland Museum which is a fantastic place to visit. One of these days when I come to Brisbane to visit, I should take my daughters to the Queensland Museum.
Woolworths food Pavillion
After getting through the entry gate we headed straight to the Woolworths food pavillion and line up for a tasting plate of free snacks.
The snacks are nice but hardly filling. So we look around the Pavillion for something to buy. In previous years we’ve had dumplings, satays, burgers and pizza. This year we went with Greek food and I had a souvlaki while Ms20 and Ms22 had halloumi chips.
Cakes, photography and animals
After eating lunch, we searched out the photography competitions and cake decorating. Ms20 has a special interest in the cake decorating. If find the detail in the cake decorating amazing. The talent people have is awe inspiring. Ms20 has a strong cake decorating bent, I’ve often suggested she consider entering competitions.
After that, we wander and wander and wander around as many exhibits as we can. I really like visiting all the animal pavilions and seeing them. There’s just something special about seeing real animals, alive and up close and realise they live and die for us to be able to eat them and gain nourishment from them. I’m grateful for farmers who rear the beasts and then send them to abattoirs. At abattoirs, the animals are killed cleanly and efficiently and then butchered so we can have meat on our dinner tables every day. It’s circle of life stuff. It’s worth thinking about the life and death of an animal so we can appreciate it more.
Primary producers really should get more recognition for feeding us. I know we import a lot of food from Asia and we export a lot of our high quality produce to Asia. The buy cheap sell high approach helps our economy to grow. While I do bemoan the cost of produce compared with other economies, at least we have access to food in plentiful supply and in Australia, especially with our government managed welfare systems, the vast majority of people don’t experience famine. While we do have homelessness and poverty, our governments past and present have all maintained and sustained welfare systems which will provide assistance to everyone who needs it.
Amongst the animal pavillions, a dog collar is purchased and we enjoy a cow milking exhibition with milk, butter, cream, butter milk, curds, whey and cheese all being made in front of us.
Cows being milked
Once we had our fill of seeing various animals we went in search of a strawberry sundae. These ice cream cones are the stuff of legend. These ice creams are an iconic part of The Ekka. In fact, in my mind, nothing says The Ekka as well as the Strawberry Sundae. The ice cream creations are put together by volunteers and all the profits are donated to The Prince Charles Hospital in Chermside on the North Side of Brisbane. Formerly known as the Chermside Chest Hospital, it’s now a place of amazing medical endeavour with an emphasis on cardiopulmonary health.
Sideshow alley and showbags
Not much to say other than I bought a Bertie Beetle showbag and we said goodbye to Ms22 who was going to a party that night.
After sideshow alley we went to find a seat in the main arena so we could enjoy EkkaNites which is the main entertainment show for the evening with two sets of fire works, a woodchop relay event, precision driving (V8 Holden utes), freestyle moto-X, monster trucks, some form of artistic entertainment and some sort of comedy routine. It’s always good fun and it’s a good way to spend an evening.
While I kept an eye on our seats and things, Ms20 went off looking for dinner. In the 30 minutes she was away, the Machinery Hill stand filled to capacity and I had to keep people from taking her place on the bare concrete “step“.
Ms20 did well and bought burgers. I had one with bacon, cheese, pineapple and beetroot. It was pretty good. I was happy with it.
Here is the list of the EkkaNites entertainment:
- Not one but two fireworks shows starting with the Children’s Fireworks presented by MG Motor: ‘Colours of the
- Great Barrier Reef’ at 6 pm plus the spectacular fireworks finale at 8 pm Jaws of Death Aerial Straight Jacket
- Escape featuring renowned escape artist Sam Powers
- Horse Archery Combat Show The Rooftop Express Brumby Muster
- Showtime FMX Battle for the Golden Helmet Ekka’s Tribute to the Holden Precision Driving Team presented by
- Track skill V8 Show
- Monster Trucks – Devils Taxi & Tropical Thunder featuring the RACQ LifeFlight Helicopter
The bus ride home
It had been a full day and at about 9 pm we had one last Strawberry Sundae in Sideshow Alley and then took the Chermside 333 back to the Chermside Interchange.
After another night of coughing, I awoke and called Miss16 to see how she felt. She was feeling significantly better but very congested with some back pain. She was well enough though to come out for breakfast.
We ended up at Cafe Cherry Beans in Chermside. Ms22 brought her BF along and so seven of us enjoyed a nice breakfast. I ended up having a very nice bacon and fried eggs roll with BBQ sauce. We all enjoyed our meals although we all wish the knives were serrated steak knives because the toast was difficult to cut with the standard dinner knives.
Bacon and fried eggs roll
All good things must come to an end
I flew back to Canberra with a group of school students.
I had a great weekend with my family. Brisbane was lovely and warm. Did I mention that on Saturday the maximum temperature got to 29 °C? It was perfect for an August day in Brisbane (this is the sort of Winter I like). There were none of those dreaded westerly winds which evaporates all the moisture in the air. The air was still and in the crowd, the air was moist with humidity.
I love The Ekka. I could go by myself, but The Ekka is for family and even though we missed the company of Miss16, it was still a good time. Hopefully, in 2018, we’ll have Miss17 (as she will be then) with us.
Spending time with my daughters and parents is the most precious time I have. It was good to be able to help Dad buy a new telephone handset, help Mum fix a few things on her iPad and just be with my daughters.
As I finish writing this, it’s Sunday evening. I’m back in cold dry Canberra and thinking about the week ahead but also planning my next time with my family.