The “Ekka” is the annual agricultural show of Queensland, Australia, and a very exciting time of year. Every August, an average of 400,000 visitors attend the exhibition in Brisbane to celebrate all of the best things in urban and rural Queensland.
But what is it?
It all started in 1876 when the National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland hosted the first Intercolonial Exhibition. Around 17,000 people attended in their finest clothes and were each given a free bag of coal – the first showbag! The exhibition became the ‘Royal’ Queensland Show in 1921 under His Majesty King George V. But, because we’re not ones to use it’s formal name, Queenslanders have affectionately known it as “The Ekka” ever since.
The Ekka celebrates the rural and the urban, and showcases of all of the best things in Queensland. For example, in 1879 it was where Queensland families were introduced to telephones and electric lights for the first time.
Now, more than 21,000 entrants compete for the top prize in all kinds of strange and wonderful activities. There’s woodchopping, sheep shearing, growing giant vegetables, best animals (beef cattle, chickens, roosters, dogs, cats) and award-winning food and wine. But there’s also carnival rides, world-class entertainment, educational seminars, eisteddfods, fashion parades and showbags! And, don’t forget the incredible fireworks display!
The Ekka is a big deal
The Ekka is a rite of passage for kids growing up in Brisbane. It’s usually the first time they see farm animals up close and learn about rural life. It’s also the only place you can get an iconic Strawberry Sundae, pat baby farm animals and spend all your pocket money on carnival rides.
As a kid, we would spend weeks reading the showbag catalogue and planning all of the things we would see, ride and eat on our family trip to the Ekka. And, a sign of a successful day was going home with several Bertie Bettle showbags and a goldfish in a bag of water. Things haven’t changed much in 20 years!
Check out our (almost) two-year old at his first Ekka in 2019.