The Hawke's Bay Show is to become a two-day event, including a Thursday night "Showtime Spectacular", in response to changing expectations in the community as to how they want to spend their spare time.
Events manager Anna Hamilton announced the changes yesterday, and said organisers were excited about the restructure and the potential for the Thursday night show.
Traditionally the Hawke's Bay Show had been held during the day from Wednesday to Friday, with Friday the busiest day being Hawke's Bay Anniversary.
After researching event trends, demographics, and people's changing expectations of how they want to spend their spare time and socialise with friends, event organisers decided to adapt the show to better cater to the community, Ms Hamilton said.
"There are so many demands on a family these days about how they spend their spare time and socialise with friends and family.
"We have done a lot of work on this, and creating a special event outside of work hours, means families can come together, socialise with friends and experience the exciting showtime atmosphere at night."
She said the team had also explored making Saturday one of the show days, but this was problematic with the event being held at a long weekend, she said.
"The show falls on the first long weekend since June, and for many that means packing the car and heading away. In saying that the show is held midweek, during the day, and that's very hard for a family who are working and at school to find time to attend.
"We had to take all of these factors into account."
The showtime spectacular will run until 10pm on Thursday with the full show remaining open including trade stalls and food.
Mahons Amusements will continue operating into the evening, with their sideshow area awash with flashing lights and late night carnival fun.
There will be special events and rurally themed entertainment in the main arena including entertainers, live music and A&P theatrics so show visitors can sit in the grandstand and enjoy the fun.
Ms Hamilton added that show visitors could expect to see some changes to the day time show atmosphere as well, with all the usual activities condensed into two days.
New show features this year include a free kids' zone space where toddlers and younger children can play, a new parade ring in front of the grandstand, big screen, and other pockets of entertainment around the grounds, with an increased focus on Hawke's Bay food, she said.
"It's fun making such a big change to the event. We are very aware that after 154 years the show has to change to stay exciting. Now it's just a matter of bringing all these great ideas to life for our Hawke's Bay community. I'm pretty sure it will be unlike any other event once we're done."
The 2017 Hawke's Bay Show and Royal A&P Show will be held from October 19 to 20.