Wauchope and Camden Haven Show Society's benefiting from cancelled 2020 annual shows

Show fun Alyssa Eames and DarcyJane Hancock of Wauchope High in the beef cattle ring at a recent Wauchope Show.
Show fun Alyssa Eames and DarcyJane Hancock of Wauchope High in the beef cattle ring at a recent Wauchope Show.

Sheryl Workman has been a consistent exhibitor at the Wauchope Show for almost 50 years but says she wasn't too upset about not attending the 2020 annual event.

The Wauchope and Camden Haven shows were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mrs Workman has taken out the prestigious most successful exhibitor in the hall "that many times I've lost count".

She says her driving force is simply to ensure the show continues to be held in high esteem.

"The community support is always there (for the show) but it needs to keep going," she said.

"It is really good to see the hall full of exhibits. It is considered the Royal of the North, for all those reasons.

"My mother was an exhibitor at the Taree show and it just seemed like it got into your system.

"Eventually it just got to the point where it felt like if I didn't exhibit, there'd be no show," she said.

To be honest, I didn't have to go all that cooking.

Sheryl Workman

Mrs Workman generally exhibits across five sections, sewing, cooking, cut flowers and plants in containers.

Exhibiting at the show and visiting the pavilion or checking out the other displays is a way of improving your own skills and getting ideas for future projects, she said.

But after 48 years, Mrs Workman admitted that she didn't feel like she had missed out with the decision to postpone the 2020 show.

"To be honest, I didn't have to go all that cooking," she said.

Wauchope Show Society president Neil Coombes says while the postponement of the show was disappointing, there was also an upside.

The grand parade is always a popular event at the shows.

The grand parade is always a popular event at the shows.

The society has received some $1.4 million in grants over the last six months.

The downtime meant that the majority of those works are likely to be completed within this year, in preparation for the 2021 annual show.

"While we have certainly missed not running the show, there has been plenty of work being carried out during the downtime," he said.

"We are actually a bit overwhelmed by the funding we've received, which includes $300,000 for new grandstands, $82,000 for the cattle arena, $625,000 for new horse stalls and a further $320,000 for horse stalls and toilets.

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"And today (Monday, June 29) we were informed of another lot of funding for electronic gates.

"It is quite exciting to see a whole lot of work being carried out," he said.

Mr Coombes said the injection of funds to the show society would filter out into the wider community.

While we have certainly missed not running the show, there has been plenty of work being carried out during the downtime.

Neil Coombes

He says the society had taken the decision to "spread the money around" with local contractors successful in securing some of the projects.

During COVID-19 restrictions, the show society was also unable to cater to visiting caravanners and travellers on-site.

Some of Sheryl Workman's prize-winning submissions to the Wauchope Show.

Some of Sheryl Workman's prize-winning submissions to the Wauchope Show.

However, further easing of restrictions could see that change by the end of July.

Camden Haven Show Society's Jody Gleeson said a federal government grant of $15,000 would also ease some of the financial burden of not hosting their show.

Mrs Gleeson said the show plays a vital role in the community.

One of our goals was to work out ways to keep our many volunteers involved, after the show was cancelled.

Jody Gleeson

"One of our goals was to work out ways to keep our many volunteers involved, after the show was cancelled," she said.

"Alongside that we also had some ongoing costs that just disappear simply because you don't host your show.

"This latest funding will help cover insurance costs, buying cleaning supplies in the wake of new measures in relation to COVID-19, and other costs."

The federal government says all agricultural shows that have cancelled their show in 2020 because of COVID-19 will be eligible and they will not have to compete for assistance.

Eligible reimbursement costs are expected to include: Bank fees, utilities, rates, insurance, fire alarms and equipment, cleaning supplies, telecommunications,

IT system licencing costs, website costs, state/national show body affiliation fees and rent.

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This story Show must go on bigger and better in 2021 first appeared on Camden Haven Courier.