The Easter Show

After spending the first two days of the Easter break working, and getting into a bit of decompression from work to non-work yesterday, I decided to go to the Easter Show today.

I was trying to work out when the last time I went to the Easter Show was. I’m picking some time around 1990 because I remember a) the Body Shop had a stall there to let the people of Auckland know that they would soon be opening their first shop in New Zealand, and b) one of the special entertainment guests was Double J and Twice the T.

But then most of my show experiences were with the Winter Show in Hamilton, which involved all the usual Easter Show things, but also cold temperatures.

Walking around the showgrounds today, I realised that little really changes from year to year, from city to city. There are the same old clattery rides, the signs proudly proclaiming that the company running the rides had been doing so for over 50 years, and, yeah, it looks like they’re still using their original equipment. Not to mention the people who run the sideshows. Well, there’s just this sort of desperation to them, as if they couldn’t get an office job, selling drugs just lead to trouble, but they do ok at enticing people to throw balls at the ducks.

I walked through a door into the Shrek show and it was horrible and boring so I left.

I sat and watched some dog trials for a while. I remember back in the bad old says when “A Dog’s Show”, a half-hour weekly programme showing dogs herding sheep into pens, took pride of place on prime time television. It was a tediously boring and I hated watching it, but somehow watching actual real dog trials was, er, kind of interesting. It was tense while Merv and Chip tried to get the lambs through the course, but Chip was a young dog and the lambs got the better of him. But later Bob and seasoned pro Jeb managed to their their lambs through the course, and into the pen for a well-deserved round of applause.

I was standing in line to get a drink when a couple of aging hipster parents had a moment of passive aggression where she was trying to give him some money to pay for her share of the food they’d just bought, while he rejected it, saying there was no room in his wallet. Then they both turned and saw me standing behind them in line and did this quiet shuffle off to the side, as if they were ashamed to have been seen fighting in public.

Inside the show buildings there were displays of paintings and pottery and the usual crap vege peelers being pimped by the same old companies. Then I found an entire hall dedicated to M&Ms. As well as various M&M themed rides, the centrepiece was an M&M factory, actually making M&Ms!!!! (Except it wasn’t, but it seemed to fool almost everyone, who apparently didn’t think it was strange that a giant open vat of melted chocolate didn’t smell at all chocolatey.)

The Easter Show is full of parents who take their kids along because that’s what their parents did when they were children. They say things like, “Would you like a hot dog? I used to love having hotdogs at the Easter Show when I was a kid,” and, “If you have the candyfloss, you can’t go on the rides straight away, or you’ll get sick like I did when I was little.”

So to end my day at the Easter Show, I had a hotdog, but it didn’t bring back any pleasant childhood memories (see also: saveloys, fairy bread).

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