Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Review: Sydney Royal Easter Show

We went to the Easter Show on Good Friday.

Don't ever do this.

Especially don't ever do this when Easter does not align with school holidays, as the crowds are concentrated on the long weekend even more than usual. It was madness.

We lasted about five hours with twin toddlers, and probably did about three things, if you don't count slowly pushing a pram through a crowd for hours as a thing.

Here is a review of the Show:

Getting There and Back
Did you know that while Redfern train station is one of the busiest and most important interchanges on the Cityrail network, not every platform is actually wheelchair accessible?

I know this after carrying two prams down to the platform from which Show trains arrived and departed.

Travel is free though with Show tickets, and was otherwise quick and easy.

On the way back it was also entertaining, as a girl in the next carriage spent half the trip back taking selfies. Different angles and pouts, hair up and down, then lying back on the bench seat. Kids these days, eh?

Rating: ***
You can also pay $25 for parking if you think you're better than the rest of us crammed into public transport like sardines. Or live on the northern beaches. Those are possibly the same thing.

Farmyard Nursery
We started by visiting the farmyard nursery pavilion, where kids can feed and pat farm animals. Or run from them screaming "I don't like it!".

We saw goats, ducks, chicken, lambs, geese, llamas, alpacas, Shetland ponies, pigs, cows, and then my arms got sore from carrying a child too scared to walk, so we left.

Rating: ****
I think they liked the next part better, where they got to wash their hands, then immediately touch the floor before quickly rubbing their eyes and chewing on their fingers.

Children's Entertainment
Next we went to the amphitheatre, where throughout the day there are shows for the kids. We saw the In The Night Garden show. The kids liked it, but it was terrible.

Rating: *1/2
Not as good as on TV, where last year it was the 12th best ABC4Kids programme.

Things On Sticks
I wasn't actively looking but I did see the following:
  • Hot dog on a stick - the food formerly known as a pluto pup, or dagwood dog
  • Chip on a stick - spiralled potato available with your choice of seasonings
  • Choc dipped banana - there's always money in the banana stand
  • Turkey leg - the bone is like a stick provided by nature
  • Snagpop - for those wanting the better named, gourmet version of the hot dog on a stick.
  • Cheese on a stick - this looked like a fatter hot dog on a stick on the outside

Now that I have small children I have to be a responsible role model that makes sensible eating choices, so I didn't actually eat any of these. But I wanted them all. Except for the cheese, that looked disgusting.

Rating: ***1/2
Just be warned, the normal supermarket rules do not apply at the Show: if it's on a toothpick, it is not free.

Police Dogs Demonstration
We got there twenty minutes early to ensure a front row, pram accessible position that wouldn't block people trying to walk in front. Then while we waiting for the show to start we saw the area in front of us get filled by arseholes standing and blocking our view.

Rating: DUD
I know it's a largely volunteer run event, but surely a police demonstration should have some basic crowd control?

Food Hall
The hall was too crowded to properly view when navigating a pram, but I did see some very large pumpkins. Like, you wouldn't believe the size of them!

We did manage to get tea and freshly baked scones from the Country Women's Association café. Delicious.

Rating: ****1/2
The scones was my favourite part of the day because I got to sit down and not fight crowds.

Infomercial Alley
I don't know what this section is actually called, but there's a whole area of market stalls run by entrepreneurs selling products that you normally only see advertised on TV at 2am.

I thought the best product was a cricket edition of Monopoly. It has some nice touches - like the squares had cracks on them like a cricket pitch, and the tokens were cricket equipment. Then I noticed the Mayfair and Park Lane property set was Lord's and the MCG. I immediately thought properties that are the same colour should really be in the same country. This bothered me far more than it should, so I decided not to buy it.

A lot of the stalls have demonstrations too, so you can turn a corner and be stopped in your tracks by one dozen people sitting down getting eye massages from googles that make them look like Cyclops from X-Men.

Rating: **1/2
Or ***1/2 if you buy today!

It seems everyone loves to complain about showbags.

"They used to be $5 and now they are $20 dollars!"

Well, no shit, it's called inflation. Everything gets more expensive over time. It's just less obvious for products that are available all year. 

They also advertise the actual dollar value of the bags contents, and it is always clear that the showbag is a comparative bargain. It has to be true - carny folk are renowned for their honesty.

So if you know of a better way to buy lots of chocolate and dodgy plastic merchandise and toys than in one of these sturdy and economical plastic bags, then I'd like to hear it.

Rating: ****1/2
We got two Toy Story showbags, with a choice of plush toy! We got Jessie and Rex. Woody and Buzz were predictably out of stock, but the boys already have them anyway. They also got a backpack with inflatable buzz wings, and some other crap that will get discarded or broken in a few weeks. Money well spent!

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