Day 228 of 366: Blog Challenge 2012

Hello all

Today is a Public Holiday in the Brisbane area due to the Ekka being held here for 10 days.

Now, if I asked any of you ‘out there’ if you were going to the ‘ Ekka’ this year, would you have any idea what I was talking about? If the answer is ‘yes’ chances are you either live in Brisbane, Queensland or you grew up here and will never forget about the Ekka

‘The Ekka’ is an institution here in South-East Queensland and nowhere else in Australia is a Show/Exhibition lovingly referred to as: “The Ekka!’

In fact, this morning I saw that ABC radio had a question on their Facebook page asking about something at the Ekka. There were many comments but one comment flawed me. One man asked simply: “What is an Ekka?”

Indeed, what IS an Ekka? Or more to the point ‘THE Ekka?’ Someone was kind enough to explain to this man that it was the local Show. You know where there are rides and samples bags and food such as ‘dagwood dogs’, cream waffles and of course those wonderful Strawberry Sundae Ice-Creams with real strawberries chopped up and mixed in the ice-cream and in a cone. One of each of these things is a MUST HAVE.

Here is a good description I found online:

The Ekka is the single most popular event of any sort in Brisbane pulling in crowds of over 600,000 people each year.  Organised by the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland (RNA) the Ekka features everything from agricultural and food exhibits to animal parades and rides.  The showbag pavillion at the Ekka is another popular attraction with over 500 showbags on offer it never fails to draw in huge crowds.

I am sure everyone has the equivalent of  an Ekka. What do you call it where YOU live? And who started calling it the Ekka anyway?

The Ekka website describes it well and it was here I learned about the origins of the word ‘Ekka’. Even though the first show was in 1876, it wasn’t until the early 20th Century that the name EKKA became common.

The first ‘Royal’ Queensland Show was held in 1921, when the Association was granted the prefix (Royal) under warrant from His Majesty King George V. Since then, the shortened name “Ekka” has replaced “Exhibition” in the Queensland vernacular, indicating locals’ affection for the Show.

Now at this stage, I must reminisce a little and go back to my childhood days when life was so very different in the fifties. As there were five of us kids then (the sixth came later) money was always a problem, but we solved it by working for Dad who made concrete flower pots on the side. (And therein lies another tale!)

Once enough money was saved, we dreamed of going on rides like The Hurricane or the Zipper, not once but twice and more if we could. And of course, there were Show Bags to buy. In ‘those days’ there was a lot of truly free samples and when us kids would get hungry we would toddle off to the Jatz Cracker stand for some biscuits and cheese, or the butter stand for scones. And there was often other tid bits going for free and we had the nose to locate them too.

But here I have to make a confession! Toward the end of the day, we used to spend all our money and as a consequence we had no money for the tram ride home a few suburbs away. So all of us would scatter and find bottles (no cans in those days) to return in order to get back the deposit. In this way, we would get enough money … you would think?

The money I lost on these Clowns!

Yes we did. But, instead of spending it on the tram, we would spend it on another ride or on the Clowns and end up with no money again! In the end, when we could find no more bottles, we just had to get on the tram (which was crowded) and when the ticket inspector came near us, we would get off the tram at the end where the inspector was and run down to the other end and get back on. We might have to do this a couple of times until we got home. Phew, it was good when our stop came!

Oh, but how guilty we felt. And yet, it was oddly exciting too as we were not children to do such things normally, but the Ekka sent us into a frenzy of excitement where anything was possible.

I have such good memories of the Ekka and even our kids remember the need to save money (which was in short supply for them too) so they could do all the things they wanted to do. They still tell stories of how I suggested they make apple turnovers and sell them to the neighbours to get extra money to spend.

The plan was: Maria would make the turnovers with my help and Daniel would sell them in the street for commission. I think the neighbours looked forward to July/August every year as they loved those apple turnovers made from scratch!

Now the Ekka tradition is being passed on so that Maria’s children can go to the Ekka too, as they are living in Brisbane for the first time. Alice surprised me the other day by saying “Grandma, I want to go to the Ekka!

About time Alice, now you are sounding like a true Queenslander at last …

This is an interesting survey …