Don Harvey

At its May meeting in the supper room of the Senior Citizen’s Rooms The Daylesford and District Agricultural Society, (The Show Society) looked at exactly how they want to present the annual show on November 26th and 27th this year.

There was a unanimous feeling that last year’s cancellation, just 2 years before the 150th celebration has actually given the society an excellent opportunity to trial new directions for a very old Daylesford tradition.

In a lot of ways we have changed, or had changes made for us over the years. The days of old MacDonald walking his cow and calf, with perhaps a prize bull led by a ring through his nose to the show are well gone. We have not had cattle, draught horses or pigs for many years and it appears unlikely that there will ever be sufficient exhibitors from our local area to warrant their return to our programme.”

Modern farming seems to be dominated by massive machinery and while there is some attraction in huge shiny horsepower and wheels, we provide a competitive outlet for farmers and often what people might call, “Hobby or Artisan Farmers”, and others who love their animals and love showing them in competitions with others and enjoying the interest and applause of the spectators. I love seeing the way competitors prepare their animals for showing, whether it be a horse, a goat, a sheep, a  dog or even a duck or hen they obviously mean the world to their doting owners and hopefully the animals enjoy the show as much as their owners.

But in our district in the last twenty or thirty  years while dairy farming has all but disappeared, we have seen a big increase in vineyard development and wine production and an increase in artisan dairy goat and cheese production and a flourishing local organic horticultural production and processing industry. Perhaps the break last year has given us the chance to tweak the Daylesford Show just a little toward including and promoting these new areas of agricultural and horticultural production.

We were able to involve a lot more local people in the flower and vegetable displays and talks at the 2019 show and our crowd seemed to like seeing local people preparing and selling food so the Society should be encouraging our great local food industry to also show their wares , or offer their expertise for the curious spectators.

I don’t say that something that has been going here since 1864 needs after just a single year break to reinvent itself but certainly there are new directions that can be taken and this seems to me while people are a bit fresher to try a few new ideas  and it will be good to see if we can flesh them out into reality come November.

Of course there will still be the traditional cakes, jams , preserves arts crafts and photography exhibits, and no doubt the professional showmen will arrive with their carnival attractions but at the moment your Show Committee is  open to some new ideas. A lot of work for the Show in November actually takes place in June and July and if you have an idea, contact a committee member or visit our website or Facebook page and let us know your thoughts.

New people with new ideas and some energy to work and contribute would be more than welcome, and don’t forget the 150th birthday is coming up in just 2 years time.

And mark your calendars for November 26 and 27 for the 2021 Daylesford Agricultural Show.

Don Harvey is the President of the Daylesford Agricultural Society.