Show with a difference

from left Ashburton A&P Association Junior Vice President Ben Stock, RAS Judge Kristine Russell, Ashburton A&P Association President Peter Stewart, RAS judge Melissa Jebson and A&P Association Vice President Vicktor Schikker.

Covid may have put a dampener on Ashburton’s A&P show this year but the ribbons, cups, and camaraderie continued to shine.

For the second year running the show was not open to the public because of Level 2 restrictions, due to covid, but the organisers and volunteers made sure the show went on with a programme of competitions.

Ashburton A&P Association president Peter Stewart said there were strong entries across all sections, and held over two days to limit the number of people on the grounds.

“There have been a lot of people disappointed they couldn’t come, but people know one of the new norms is these public events aren’t going to happen under covid,” he said.

An army of volunteers help run the show, many have been doing it for years and run a smooth operation.

Peter has been the president for the past two years; the covid years.

“I am disappointed I haven’t hosted a public show but it is what it is, there is still plenty of work to do,” he said.

“We have a lot of individuals and businesses who sponsor the show and are very good sponsors year after year, the show wouldn’t happen without their support.”

“One of the positive things about the show is we have a vast amount of people from around the South Island involved, judges have come from Dipton, the West Coast and Nelson,” he said.

“All the competitors are pleased to be here, they are here for that champion ribbon, that cup or certificate, promoting the breeds they are interested in and doing the best we can for excellence in agriculture.”

Royal Agricultural Society judge Melissa Jebson was thrilled the competition was allowed to go ahead and thankful for the association for giving it a go and running the event.

“We ask ourselves “why are we doing it?” We’re not doing it to stand out here and enjoy the sunshine, we’re doing for our competitors,” she said.

“It’s really important in this day and age when we don’t know what’s coming.”

Fellow judge Kristine Russell agreed, noting the mental strain farmers had been under.

“So many things have been cancelled and it’s nice they can actually get out and go to something its good for their mental health,” she said.

The large pavilion that housed the home industries competition was full of many creative items, including quilts, baking, woodwork and paintings, with judges busy selecting the best from each category.

Home Industries pavilion convenor Julie Hollings said the standard of work with entries had been amazing, but organisers still had to work around covid rules.

“We have had to maintain bubbles which has been reasonably easy to do and most of our exhibitors have been very supportive.

“Unfortunately we had to cancel the childrens sections, because the numbers would have been too high with them in the shed, it was very disappointing for the children.”

By Daniel Tobin