Carnival operators have expressed relief the second-largest agricultural show in South Australia will go ahead today after a run of cancellations across the nation. 

Key points:

  • Mount Gambier Show was established in 1860 and is the largest of its type in SA outside the Royal Adelaide Show
  • Carnival operators remained in SA after the Adelaide Show cancellation to attend the Mount Gambier event
  • COVID-19 plans are in place to ensure the show is compliant with public health orders

Amusement operator Pauline Allen has been attending the Mount Gambier Show for the past 50 years and says financial pressure is mounting on the industry due to the lingering pandemic.

Her comments come as the Mount Gambier Show opens its gates today and tomorrow with thousands of show-goers expected to flood the site.

It will be the largest show held in South Australia following the cancellation of the Adelaide Show.

“It’s bright, colourful and everything’s modern.”

Despite some COVID-19 restrictions on the event, she said she hoped the Mount Gambier Show would be a success for carnival operators.

Ms Allen said shows were part of the social fabric of regional communities.

“They’re very important because they hold [the towns] together,” Ms Allen said.

“Once you let a community event go, they’re very, very hard to restart. Very hard.”

Man standing at the sideshow alley

Amusement ride operator Elwin Bell is thrilled sideshow alley will spring to life for the Mount Gambier Show.(ABC South East SA: Laura Mayers)

Food and ride organiser Elwin Bell said it was lucky Mount Gambier did not have any active COVID-19 cases so the show could go ahead.

But he warned a crisis was looming due to public liability insurance issues for operators.

“Once we run out, we’re not getting no more,” Mr Bell said.

“So all shows might be in jeopardy before long if we can’t get help from the government or someone to organise us some public liability.”

Thousands expected

Mount Gambier Show junior vice president Tammy Flier said 10,000 people were expected to attend the two-day event.

“On a really good year, the show would normally get between 10,000 and 15,000 people through the gate,” Ms Flier said.

Mount Gambier Show

Mount Gambier Show will have a variety of rides despite border restrictions.(ABC South East SA: Laura Mayers)

She said the annual event was important for highlighting what the region had to offer.

“One of the things we’re focused on as the committee is highlighting the different agricultural and horticultural aspects that we have going on in our own region, whether they are dairy cattle, log chop, horse events, the cookery, vegetables, and horticultural cut flowers,” Ms Flier said.

“It’s really important, it gives people an idea of that whole paddock-to-plate scenario … where does my food come from? And then highlighting our local industry.”

She said it was disappointing many Victorian residents could not attend make the trip — given the border restrictions.

The event is ticketed due to current COVID-19 restrictions.

Posted , updated 

Iconic regional SA show overcomes bumpy pandemic ride to open gates
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