Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Welcome to Brisbane, home of the Coon Toastie.

I think the most appropriate thing to do when welcoming new visitors to an area is to give them a taste of the local flavour. Give them something that smacks of "Oh, so this is what it's like!". And that's what the Ekka is. Local. Done lekker.

The Ekka is traditionally held at the RNA Showgrounds here in Brissy on an annual basis, and is a celebration of all things Queenslandish and country-like. First started in 1876, the Ekka draws crowds from all over the State, if not the country. In fact, it's so big they have a public holiday for it! They have vegetables and fruit on display that are so large they will make your spinster aunt blush for no apparent reason.

This year there was, as alays I was told, a melee of activity, centering around the country goods displays and Woolworths Food Pavilion, and for the kids, the magnetic attractions of Sideshow Alley, which is where all carnival rides, greasy treats and ghosthouse is. Tied for first place is the Showbag Pavilion, housing more than 500 different showbags and more sugar per square metre than a Cadbury's factory and a definite determining factor in Australian childhood diabetes. It will probably also play a big role in my next dentist appointment as I went for the Sourbombs Showbag and am still puckering through it all. As we say in Afrikaans: Dit trek jou kiewe so op 'n knoop (it's something about sourness and fish).

According to the Ekka's website, 4000 scantily-dressed fireman calendars were sold during this week in August, 150 chickens were born, over 3000 $1 Coon cheese toasties were sold in the Food Pavilion and 6.5 tons of pink puke was cleaned up due to 6.5 tons of Strawberry Sundaes which were consumed just prior to attempting the Tornado of Terror in Sideshow Alley.  Okay, so I made that last one up. Next year, a new company will organise the Ekka, making it bigger, brighter and taking it out of the showgrounds onro the streets of Brisbane. There's been a lot of mumbling about this as some of the attractions will be removed, but I guess we'll have to wait until next year to see what really happens. Here's a scenic taste of what this year's Ekka was like: