Long-held show a hit again

Early summer sun shone brightly on the South Otago A&P Show in Balclutha on Saturday.

Rides and sideshows were notably absent among the rows and blocks of animals, art and craft shows, trade displays and food stalls, but they were not missed for long, according to many visitors.

"Everyone seems to be a lot more into the exhibitions and activities this year," local father David Carline said.

"There’s heaps to do you might not notice otherwise — it’s awesome."

One remarkable new-old event was the Sheep to Shawl contest organised by Lawrence newcomer Olivia Montgomerie, where seven teams of eight spent much of the day competing to hand-process fresh-shorn wool into a complete garment.

The Gore Spinners and Weavers Club took the inaugural 2023 title with a luxurious vest combining crochet, knitting and woven wool.

"I remember seeing events like this way back when I came to shows with my grandmother and it’s wonderful to see it again," Gore wool-crafter Isobel Walker said.

Everyone attending the South Otago A&P Show was a winner, including George Moffat, 8 (left), and...
Everyone attending the South Otago A&P Show was a winner, including George Moffat, 8 (left), and Mark Senada, 8, of Balclutha, holding George’s champion lamb Spring. PHOTO: NICK BROOK
Another visitor glad to have made the journey was Palmerston dairy farmer Shelli Mears, who operates Otago Fresh Milk, whose pedigree Jersey cow Phillomena was judged champion all breeds cow and supreme champion dairy animal.

"It’s always a pleasure to come to the Clutha show," Mrs Mears said.

"The judges and society run a well-organised day and they take a lot of care over the traditional agricultural and pastoral events like this."

Free tractor rides, all-breed dog-racing, boutique sale stalls, bouncy castles and Santa’s Grotto were some of the other activities enjoyed by the crowds, who filled the grandstand to watch the final presentation of the A&P Show Queen competition, won by local woman Evelyn Thorn.

The South Otago A&P Show is one of the country’s oldest. This was the society’s 157th show.

"It’s definitely not an overnight event — we begin in March," society president Bridget Lowry said.

"Sadly, this is becoming a harder task each year. New members are always welcome and much needed and the committee and I thank our sponsors and supporters and the whole community whole-heartedly."

— Nick Brook