Damon Phillips, RASQ’s Chief Executive Officer, says 12 months ago we gathered here to excitedly talk about the Heritage Bank Toowoomba Royal Show and the impact it would have on the Toowoomba and Darling Downs Community.
Unfortunately only 3 days later, all mass gatherings were cancelled and 6 days prior to our first exhibitors arriving the 2020 Heritage Bank Toowoomba Royal Show was cancelled for only the third time in our proud 160 year history.
What followed can only be described as demoralising, heartbreaking and down to earth soul searching. Could we as an organisation, solely reliant on events continue? Could we support our staff, volunteers and numerous community organisations that call the Toowoomba Showgrounds home?
We estimate that the cancellation of the 2020 Heritage Bank Toowoomba Royal Show and subsequent closure of the grounds cost the society in the vicinity of $350-$400,000. It seems a long time ago. Thanks to Job Keeper we were able to retain most of our staff. We were able to keep the doors open and give 20 odd caravaners who were unable to travel a place to stay.
We were able to commence and complete numerous capital works projects and thanks to Heritage Bank we were able to refund each and every competitor and site holder their 2020 entry and site fees. Talk about putting people first. I must admit that being able to wear shorts to work and going home at 4 o’clock was enjoyable, although nothing compares with the excitement of staging great community events.
Late last year two very exciting things happened. Firstly we approached Clive Berghofer to fund a 5 year capital works program aimed at attracting new events to better secure our financial future. Clive committed $2 million of his own personal funds towards our projects. As he said, “without our showgrounds as our community hub, what else as a community do we have?”
Additionally Toowoomba Regional Council committed $150,000 to the Heritage Bank Toowoomba Royal Show for 2021. The fact is without the Toowoomba Regional Council support we would not be standing here today.
Anyway on with the show. For our committee there are 4 main objectives. Provide a conduit for competition. Educate young people about the importance of agriculture. Entertain all our patrons and do so in the most COVID safe environment as possible.
COMPETITION (Click HERE For Tickets)
160 years ago, pastoralists from across the region gathered to compete to find the best bull, cow, horse, pig, crops or rooster. Their aim was not to win the blue ribbon but to improve the livestock and crops of the colony. This tradition continues today.
Dairy cattle are judged early in the week.
Horses, with almost 1500 entries start arriving on Thursday for Friday, Saturday and Sunday judging.
Stud Beef cattle with over 200 entries are judged on Friday and Saturday with Led Steers judged on Sunday.
Show dogs will be judged on Thursday, Friday and Saturday while Sheep Dog Trials, with record entries, will be judged from Friday to Sunday.
Other livestock to be judged include meat sheep, poultry and pigs and all will be on display for the 3 days.
A number of our livestock competitions were cancelled due to COVID but we will have animals on display such as alpacas, dairy and mohair goats. Unfortunately a number of competitions have been cancelled this year including Woodcraft, Inter-home and Apiculture although Handicraft, Cooking, Floriculture, Floral Art, Fine Art, Art in Bark, Photography and Leather have all attracted significant entries.
Home-grown Produce will be virtual allowing so many more individuals and schools to enter. I am looking forward to winning a blue ribbon for my marvellous crop of basil.
Of course any show is not complete without the traditional woodchop and chainsaw competitions.
EDUCATION Click( HERE For Tickets)
Education continues to be the cornerstone of what we are aiming to achieve as an agricultural society. Educating, particularly young people, is part of our DNA. We will continue to do this across a number of platforms.
Costa returns to The Heritage Bank Royal Show and brings Dirt Girl for the first time. Paul West also returns and his passion for sustainable farming is infectious. For the first time, with the support of the Queenland Government, Heritage Bank and Stockyard Beef we will be hosting an Ag Long Lunch each day of the show.
Local school children will join farmers and industry to share a meal and learn about where their food comes from. Early this year, in partnership with the Mulberry Project we planted a corn crop on site. This will be harvested and enjoyed during the show.
In addition our very popular Animal Nursery, Working Dairy, Historical Machinery displays and Little Hands on the Farm programs will continue to engage, entertain and educate our patrons.
FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT (Click HERE For Tickets)Once in the door pay no more has been our mantra for many years and the 2021 Heritage Bank Toowoomba Royal Show is no exception. There are over 50 things to see and do that will not cost our patrons a cent once they enter the gates.
New attractions this year include the Dinkum Dinosaurs displays and shows and Lukes Reptile Kingdom; the largest mobile reptile display in Australia. Also for the first time will be Eronis Circus with a larger tent than previous circuses and more animals, clowns and entertainers.
Spirits of the Red Sand also makes its debut at the Heritage Bank Toowoomba Royal Show. Voted best local tourism attraction in the state via an RACQ survey, this interactive indigenous show will be staged twice daily and again in the
main arena on both Friday and Saturday nights. We are very grateful to Tourism and Events Queensland for their support in bringing this attraction to Toowoomba.
Our ever-popular fashion parades, jet pack super heroes, dock dogs, family stage and pig racing all return. When the sun goes down the main arena comes to life with monster trucks, Spirit of the Red Sand, Vintage Sprint Cars, Motorbikes, 2 fireworks shows and the most amazing laser light show Toowoomba has ever seen. I can’t wait!
STAY COVID SAFE (Click HERE For Tickets)
Queensland Shows has developed a COVID Safe industry plan for all shows in the state. This was a significant step forward to ensure the Queensland show circuit kicked off in Stanthorpe in late January.
The plan covers everything from contact tracing to cleaning to physical distancing. Unfortunately, one thing it doesn’t cover is events attracting in excess of 10,000 patrons. Enter the Heritage Bank Toowoomba Royal Show.
As the first show society established in Queensland in 1860, the RASQ continues to lead the show movement in the state. The Heritage Bank Toowoomba Royal Show will be the first large show held in Queensland and as such we feel
we have a duty to get it right.
We have been working very closely with Qld Health to develop our COVID Safe plan which is currently with the Chief Medical Officer. We are confident that the decision will be made very shortly to increase our capacity above 10,000
patrons per day.
We have implemented cleaning protocols that will ensure that all amenities are cleaned every hour. There will be COVID Marshalls at all major attractions ensuring protocols are adhered to. There will be over 60 hand sanitising stations located around the grounds.
Every person entering the grounds will be scanned in and scanned out. We will know exactly who is on the grounds at any one time. No ticket. No entry.
We will monitor our pavilions and our inside areas to ensure crowd limits are not exceeded. We will have appropriate signage throughout the grounds highlighting the important COVID Safe messaging.
Students at Glenvale State School have recorded COVID Safe messages that will be publicised during the show. We are very proud of our community engagement and the way the local community has got behind us.
TICKETING (Click HERE For Tickets)
We are encouraging everyone to pre-purchase their tickets online. Everyone entering the grounds must register. No ticket, No entry. Logistically this has been a significant cost to the Society but one that we are very committed to.
We have maintained our ticket prices. On Friday, the show holiday, and Saturday adult tickets are $20, concession $13 and children over 5 years of age $7. On Sunday we have reduced the prices to $17 for adults, $10 for concession and $5 for children.
We have also moved the show days. Our aim is to spread the crowd over 3 days.
The show holiday will now be Friday, 16th April. The show will operate between 9am and 9pm on Friday and Saturday and 9am and 4pm on Sunday.
This has been a challenging year for everyone. The RASQ is committed to staging an entertaining, educational, competitive and COVID Safe event for the Toowoomba and Darling Downs community. We invite you to join with us on this amazing, exciting and ground-breaking journey.
Chief Executive Officer,
RASQ, Toowoomba Showgrounds, Glenvale Rd, Toowoomba Q 4350
P O Box 18099, Clifford Gardens, Toowoomba Q 4350
Tel: 07 4634 7400 Email: [email protected]