HOW important is an agricultural show to you?
And what do you most enjoy?
Is it the cut flowers and photography competitions, the livestock comps, junior judging?
Or maybe it's sideshow alley?
As a kid I used to raid my great-aunt's garden for flowers to put in the competitions and without fail, I'd enter chocolate cakes, paintings and perhaps, if the pet dog was willing, our border collie in the best pet section.
In later years, we used to show White Suffolk sheep and prime lambs, I loved doing that.
You know why?
Because it got me out talking to other people I wouldn't otherwise see.
People who didn't know much about the industry would come and ask questions and we'd be able to tell them all about our agricultural industry.
They would walk away knowing more about what we did as farmers and hopefully understanding more about their food.
My kids have always entered the competitions - my daughter is especially apt at taking out prizes in the photography section.
I loved the noise and bustle of the shows, the fairground music, the commentator calling the quick shears and who could turn away from the smell of cooking donuts? (If you've just said no, I don't believe you).
Agricultural shows are important to our rural communities - they are the window to what goes on in our local area.
They also are a way to inform and educate kids, who haven't grown up on farms, and don't know or completely understand where their food comes from.
It's also a nurturing environment for young adults to stretch their muscles in judging livestock, or in the Young Farmer's Challenge.
To gain knowledge from other peers and mentors.
Our shows love showcasing everything to the people who walk through the gate, whether it be farm machinery, dog trials, cake cooking.
We don't care as long as it's agricultural.
We do care about you being able to see these things.
In the current environment, our shows face many challenges.
COVID shutdowns, (which if you think about the amount of work and cost that goes into organising an event like this, is probably our biggest fear), lack of support by exhibitors and insurance are just a few.
The biggest threat to longevity, these agricultural shows face is the declining committee members and the increasing age of the people who are staying around to help run the shows.
The people who have come up through the ranks, learned the business over time, but haven't had anyone to pass that knowledge onto.
Here in Esperance, next year is supposed to be our 60th Agricultural Show (COVID willing).
Our committee members are very proud of this achievement, but we're desperately looking for new committee members as are so many of shows around the State.
I wonder if you've thought about volunteering to one of these committees?
If you haven't, then please do.
These events are critical to our communities, our kids and even to us adults.
You'll always find something for everyone inside an agricultural show.