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The Gawler Show, August 2008

Promoted as the largest rural and agricultural show in South Australia the Gawler Show is always worthy of an afternoon of wandering around - perhaps a full day if you and/or the kids are into sideshow rides and games too.

Gawler is my home town, this is my local show. It's run over two days on a weekend (this year August 30-31). There are three things that attract me to these kinds of shows:

  1. The art, craft, and other judged competitions

  2. The On Stage Entertainment

  3. The fireworks.

I've never been that big a fan of amusement rides and games largely because they seem over priced and I succumb easily to motion sickness (particularly on things that go round and around).

I'm not much into the animals either, cows, sheep, horses etc. though these are a big part of why the show even exists in the first place. (if they had sheep dog trials I'd add them to my must see list - working dogs are just incredible).

Winning the art competition is more about the glory than the prizes which is reflected in the quality of art the Gawler show attracts. There are still one or two gems entered and generally the art is okay but you won't see any professional artists here (seeking the prestige of winning for their resume).

The craft side of things is completely different - perhaps craft is far more of a rural pass time than art? Anyway, you can see some really great quilts, tapestries, dolls, models and more. All of which make up for whatever it is that's lacking in the art section.

In with the art and craft is all the more agricultural competitions where it seems like you can win a prize for almost anything. Being a fan of Rowan Atkinson's, The Black Adder TV series, I can't help but think that Baldrick would be salivating at the thought of a prize winning turnip.

I'm sure people who grow turnips and other produce take these things very seriously but I wonder what kind of prestige the Gawler Show gives to a prize winning side of bacon?

The on stage entertainment is often a real highlight if you're at the show at the right time. In the case of the Gawler show that's Saturday afternoon and evening.

My partner and I got to the main stage just as local band the Rockin' Sox were getting started. They're a three piece rock trio of boys whose combined ages make them as old as me. The lead singer and rhythm guitarist is 12 years old whilst the drums and base players are both 13.

The Rockin' Sox played mostly covers of popular songs that they really had no business to be playing. For example a 12 year old in 2008 singing Bryan Adams Summer of 69 lacks credibility on every level. How can a 12 year old look back to a time that even I've never seen and sing 'those were the best days of my life'?

They continued in this vein with covers of AC/DC's Jailbreak and Long Way to the Top, Chuck Berry's Johnny Be Good and the Beatles, Hard Days Night (come on - a 12 year old singing 'Hard Days Night').

Despite their song choice, I have to say they played really well to a tough and some what sparse crowd (rain meant that numbers were probably down at the show this year). They were overly optimistic (but undeterred) with their lack of success in their numerous attempts to start some audience participation on various songs.

The highlight of their set was a cover of Lenny Kravitz, Are you gonna go my way. I thought their original song sounded great too even though the main line I could hear said something about 'feeling so alone' (arrgghhh - teenage angst from newbie teens - you shouldn't be depressed and lonely until you're at least fourteen!).

After that there was a puppet show with Funtime puppets which was your traditional Punch and Judy story. It was definitely aimed at the knee high set so we took the opportunity to get some dinner and come back for the main event - The Australian Elvis Show.

Performed by Joe Bikic and his backing band it was loud but good. I wouldn't say it was the ultimate Elvis tribute (as it's promoted) but if you're an Elvis fan I'm sure you'd love it.

Joe is kind of leaning towards the early, few too many cheese burgers Elvis in appearance which kind of reminds you it was all starting to go down hill from there for the great man himself.

It would have been nice to see a version of A Little Less Conversation as part of a tribute show - since it was such a big, recent hit that we'll never see Elvis perform live.

The evening ends on Saturday with the fireworks display. What can be said about fireworks. They're always fun to watch and they never go for long enough. That's very true of Gawler's firework display. It's a short display but a nice way to finish off the night.

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