The annual event where we're allowed to lose logic.






Every village, town and city has its show. Or a fete, fair or carnival.

In Queensland the big one is the Royal Queensland Show every August. Being klarsy up here, we call it ‘The Ekka’ (short for exhibition).

Like any show, the Ekka is where the community gathers from near and far to show their wares and to compete in good-hearted competitions of artistic and physical ability.

It’s also where children spend their hard-saved pocket money on bags packed with bizarre toys, lollies that don’t even pretend to be naturally coloured or flavoured, vouchers for theme parks they’ll never set foot in, drink bottles, backpacks, tattoos (hopefully temporary), wigs, lunchboxes, USB sticks, headphones and sporting equipment. It wouldn’t surprise me if  bed linen gets packaged up in a show bag soon. I’d love that.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by The Royal Queensland Show. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in her own words.

It’s important that we, as parents, don’t bitch too much about showbags – because there’s a direct correlation between how much parents say they hate them and how desperately children crave them.

There is NO LOGIC to the showbag. They make no sense and the sooner we accept that, the happier everyone will be.

My mum is in her 70s. When I was little she’d tell me stories going to the show with her brothers and sisters. Showbags were then called, ‘Sample Bags’ (even I remember this) and they were given out free by manufacturers keen to get people to try their products. Mum tells me of getting tiny packets of flour, sachets of instant coffee, little pats of butter and motel style boxes of breakfast cereal. Good times.


Now showbags are an attraction in themselves; and planning their purchase can take WEEKS, which is approximately quadruple the lifespan of most showbag contents.

But this is where I need to be very careful I don’t turn into a mood-murdering mum.

Too much of life, in my opinion, is spent evaluating value, doing what’s sensible and wise.

The most joyous memories of my child hood aren’t associated with making thoughtful purchases and wise choices, but with being allowed to go a little bit crazy. There was no greater forum for this than the Ekka, where I:

• Believed I would win a teddy bigger than my Pop because I could time those ping pong balls to go down a clown’s throat better than anyone else.

• Made my head split in half by telling my sister I could eat a giant strawberry ice-cream in thirty seconds.

• Was allowed to buy a Sunny Boy showbag AND and Bertie Beetle showbag AND and Freddo Frog showbag even though mum had said very clearly that morning that we were allowed a maximum of two (2) showbags each.


Now that I’m all grown up (physically, anyway) I do try to exercise restraint with my own kids. I impress upon them the importance of careful consideration and the need to ‘cool down’ when they feel the urge to spend.

But come August, when that ferris wheel appears on the drive into the city, something childish comes over me.

And like my kids, I start thinking – will it be the Freddo bag or the Minties one?

Queensland’s largest and most loved annual event is almost here. More than 400,000 people will come together at the 2013 Royal Queensland Show (Ekka) in Brisbane from August 8 to 17. Showcasing the best of Queensland – from the city to the country – Ekka features more than 10,000 animals; 23,000 competition entries; a smorgasbord of award-winning food and wine; and hours of family entertainment.

All the traditional favourites will be back again this year including rides, showbags, the RACQ Insurance Animal Nursery, and iconic strawberry sundae. From dawn to dusk, there will be plenty to do, to taste, to see and to smell. The countdown has begun!

This post is sponsored by EKKA. Comments on this post are just for this post. If you have questions about sponsored posts or the choice of advertisers please click here.

Do you still have a great fascination and excitement with show bags? What is the best or most unexpected think you’ve ever found in a show bag at the Ekka or elsewhere?