Fun activities invigorating show

By Laurel Stowell

Better weather this year made for more crowds at Wanganui's diminished and divided A&P; Show.

There was a constant flow of people to the show, A&P; Association member Gareth Edwards said - unlike last year's rainy and windy show weekend.

At Springvale Park there were sideshows run by Mahon's Entertainments, food stalls, a petting zoo, entertainment, calf and lamb judging, a traction engine, face painting, wood chopping, trade exhibits and pony rides.

The action was steadily punctuated by the screams of riders on Turbo Boost, a new and terrifying sideshow ride.

Entertainment was provided by Greg Clark's travelling Sheep-N-Show, with performances put on twice daily.

He did shear several sheep, but took his time and added some comedy and repartee with the crowd.

The sheep races were something else.

Each sheep had a stuffed jockey doll clinging to its back. The well nourished ewes were released on a short track and raced to the other end in an effort to get food. Children guessed which of them would win.

The wood chopping added a new event this year, Flying Discs. In it people with chainsaws raced to cut 20 complete discs out of poles standing on the grass.

It's a noisy event, with the men circling the poles repeatedly and trying not to knock them over or cut damaged discs.

Timekeeper Tania Bellamy said it was an idea brought to New Zealand from Europe, and aimed to include loggers and arborists in competitions traditionally limited to axemen only.

Most of the entries in the calf and lamb competition came from outside Wanganui, Mr Edwards said, and numbers were growing every year.

There was no home industries section this year, because the people who used to organise it had retired.

An advertisement for replacements got no replies, but Mr Edwards said the association would keep on looking.

At Wanganui Racecourse were 500 horses and 250 riders competing in events from dressage to jumping. Many stayed there on Saturday night, sleeping in their big rigs and using a row of portaloos.

It was a busy and successful weekend, organiser Margaret Donoghue said, despite attracting few casual spectators. For more on the horse events, see the sports pages.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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