By NARELLE COULTER
When Dandenong Show secretary Lynne Ferris escaped her desk in the administration building for half an hour to take a quick peek at the event she had spent months organising, she wasn’t disappointed.
“I haven’t seen the actually show in 10 years,” she joked, as she darted around Greaves Reserve.
It wasn’t the best show ever. The overcast skies and intermittent rain on Saturday put paid to that. But there were enough families wandering among the attractions and teenagers screaming as they were hurled skyward on gravity-defying carnival rides to satisfy the show secretary.
“It was disappointing that there weren’t a few more people, but the mood was good so in all it was a reasonably successful show. The crowd was better on Sunday so I was pleased with that.
“One of the show bag ladies stopped me on Saturday and said that despite the weather people were throwing money at her, which was great to hear. The showbag sellers are charities or community organisations so a percentage of what they sell goes back to the community.”
Lynne’s mother, Phyllis Allan, was at the show also, her life member of the Dandenong Agricultural Society badge pinned to her coat.
Phyllis and husband Graham, long time Keysborough residents, showed cattle for many years at Dandenong. Phyllis enjoys returning each year to catch up with old friends.
On Saturday, two further generations of the Allen family accompanied her, grand-daughter Alisha Keyzer and great-grandson Jude.
“There are lots of young kids this year,” observed Alisha.
“I think it’s great that there are so many activities for the kids such as the craft activities and cake decorating. It gets the kids involved.
“And there is also a good cross section of food this year, lots of choice.”
Another Dandenong Show stalwart, Ronald Simpson, who lived in Noble Park for most of his 90 years, wandered through the poultry pavilion for, “something to do for the afternoon”.
A member of the Oakleigh District Poultry Society, Mr Simpson entered birds in the Dandenong Show for decades from the early 50s. He gently lifts the door on the cage of the champion bird in show bending down for a closer look at the Columbian Wyandotte bantam, entered by Boolarra breeder Debbie Sigmund.
“I had Rhode Island Reds, bantams, moderns, lots of different colours. I judged several times and used to help put up the pens. The entries used to fill the other hall as well.”
This year the bird entries comprised two rows of cages.
“We used to have 40 breeders within four kilometres in Dandenong. Now there is only one, John Betts. Breeding and the interest in breeding is not around now.”
He hopes the hobby will be kept alive by young enthusiasts like eight-year-old Bailey Hiscock, of Carrum Downs, who won junior champion with his Langshan, ‘Josie’.
The Sclim family live minutes from Greaves Reserve and took their young daughters for an afternoon out at the show.
Medina, six, liked the dodgem cars and the “beautiful cakes”.
“It’s a good family day out,” said dad Hamzic.
The hundreds of other families who enjoyed the attractions on offer over the weekend, including the spectacular fireworks Saturday night, would surely agree.