Baradine Show lifts spirits during drought
The small rural town of Baradine in north-west NSW relies mostly on agriculture for its viability. But locals say they are enduring the worst drought in 100 years and unfortunately, the long-term forecast indicates no respite. Farmers are bearing the brunt of it, with a lack of water for stock and cropping, and escalating costs for stock feed – if you can even find it. The flow-on effects are also being felt in the township, especially in small businesses like the hotel, supermarket etc.
At times like this, it's more important than ever that the community comes together, to unwind and have some fun, and forget the extreme environmental conditions, even if only for a short time, and be there to support each other. And where better to do that than the local Show.
The annual Baradine Show is one of the oldest shows in north-west NSW, having started in 1936. However, the 2019 event was under threat, running at a significant loss compared to previous years due to volunteer fatigue, a decline in admission fees, a lack of availability of carnival attractions, and the added obstacle of ongoing drought affecting entries.
With the belief that the show must go on – especially to support the economic viability and well-being of the community – the Baradine Pastoral, Agricultural & Horticultural Association applied for a grant through FRRR’s Tackling Tough Times Together program. Their aim was to provide free entry to the Show, removing one of the biggest barriers to locals being able to come along.
The Association received $14,453, funded by the Australian Government, which went toward the event’s promotional activities, entertainment and reducing some of the operating costs. This enabled them to provide free access for children under 12 and to reduce other tickets to just $5 per person.
Association President, Lauren Harris, said the Association hadn't seen so many people at the show for years. "They were queuing up to get through the gate. The reduction in gate entry with the assistance of FRRR funding contributed to the increase in attendance numbers. This was a popular drought initiative that attracted more farming families to the show because of the considerable reduction in the admission cost.
"The whole event was an outstanding success, with new events, market stalls, information stands and the variety of fun entertainment for all the family combining to push the annual show to new heights. A great achievement in a community battling ongoing drought conditions.
"The FRRR Tackling Tough Times Together grant enabled the Baradine PA & H Association to continue to share the traditions of the past and showcase district achievements in agriculture, education and creativity to patrons.
"The 2019 Baradine Show has played a constructive role in helping our community cope with drought by not only stimulating a much-needed economic activity and encouraging creative frugality in difficult times but fulfilling an important civic emotional and psychological role in lifting community spirits and bringing people together in adverse circumstances. This year's event success has given 'heart' to the Baradine PA & H Association to make plans for the 2020 Baradine Show."
The 2019 Baradine Show once again demonstrated the influential role the local show continues to play in community life and social cohesion and the role the general community play in supporting the event.