The Dorrigo Show Society
For over 110 years, the Dorrigo Show Society’s mission has been to serve and enrich the community on the Dorrigo Plateau and neighbouring regions via the annual Show. The Show is the largest community event held on the Plateau and attracts approximately 3,000 locals and visitors each year.
Primary production is one of the economic pillars of the Dorrigo Plateau. The Show encourages education`, exhibition, and competition; and rewards excellence in livestock, horticulture, and farming-related skills. The Agricultural Show provides significant opportunity for local farmers to showcase their livestock and produce; and to meet with visiting farmers, breeders, pastoralists, machinery specialists, and other members of the agricultural industry. The Show also enables local businesses to promote themselves to the general public.
The Show Society is a not-for-profit organisation with over 1,300 members. In 2017, the Society held the Show and an adjunct bull-riding Rodeo across three days, 24-26 November. The event was coordinated by a core administrative committee of 25 members. Over 100 ancillary staff, including many volunteer members of 17 Plateau community organisations and civic clubs, provided essential manpower and specialist expertise.
The Show provides the community, particularly our youth, opportunity to display their talents: all the Plateau schools provide a school display and facilitate students to enter. Entrants compete across 23 distinct sections. In 2017, the Show received over 2,000 entries from more than 600 participants. The Pavilion sections include the fine arts and crafts, needlework, cookery, homebrew, cheese-making, fruit, vegetables, and flowers. Livestock sections include dairy, beef, and poultry.
Outdoor events focus on traditional farming skills such as beef and dairy livestock judging, horse- and motorcycle-riding, showjumping, camp-drafting, woodchop, and bush-dog trials (sheep and cattle yard work). As a registered member of the Agricultural Societies of NSW, Ltd, category winners at the Dorrigo Show are eligible to compete at Zone 13 (regional) and State levels, such as at the Royal Sydney Show. As a family-focussed event, there are a range of amusements specifically for children and families, such as the Fun Run, Pet Show, Tug-o’-War, Farmers’ Challenge, a Kids’ Treasure Hunt, and Kids’ Whip-Cracking Competition, alongside a traditional ‘sideshow alley’ of games and rides.
The Show hosts educational demonstrations (e.g. cooking, fire safety, animal care, reptiles), and performances (e.g. by local musicians and a magician). In 2017, performers included local musicians John Peppercorn, The Refreshments, the Waterfall Way Regional Brass Band, and the Dorrigo Public School Choir. Local, State, and Federal government politicians, alongside distinguished local identities, are invited to participate in the Opening Ceremony and Grand Parade. The closing Ute Parade includes floats by local businesses and community groups.
The Show enables the whole community to promote and preserve our local history and heritage as an agricultural district. Each year a different aspect of the agricultural industry is selected for special focus, such as Dairy, Beef, or Horticulture. As befits each year’s theme, volunteers from the Don Dorrigo & Guy Fawkes Museum present displays about the history of agriculture on the Plateau. Several months before the Show, all Plateau primary school children are invited to submit art relating to the year’s theme, with four being selected to illustrate the Show Schedule.
The Showground is a prime example of community space: the Pavilions and Grand Stand are local architectural landmarks. The Show enables these facilities to be used for their intended purpose, and Show members contribute to the maintenance of the Showgrounds’ facilities via working bees throughout each year.
The annual Dorrigo & Guy Fawkes Agricultural Show displays the resources and endeavours of our community, engaging and educating both rural and town communities via a unique, well-run, traditional country agricultural show.