I never really thought I’d be interested in learning how to make pickles.
But after a charming chat with Violet and Ivan Preston (pictured above) … well … I really want to learn how to make pickles. Violet says she’ll teach me; says that I should enter the pavilion with my pickles and see if they can beat her pickles. One more time for good measure: pickles.
In a show that has spent over a century celebrating the connections and contributions of our community – The Bellinger River Agricultural Show is set for a mighty comeback this upcoming 8thand 9thof May. With over 350 Pavilion displays ranging from artwork, to cookery, to knitting, to animals built from vegetables, this year is going to be a thrill for people of all ages, backgrounds, and interests.
Violet Preston is the depiction of all thing’s community: a family woman, a cattle lady, and an exhibitor in the Bellinger River Agricultural Show’s Pavilion for over fifty years. Not to mention that she’s lost count of just how many times she’s actually won – (for the record, it’s a lot).
“I just go through my cupboards and see what’s there,” she says. “I’ve got jams, and cakes and decorations. Knitting, crocheting, beading… It can be anything. I always encourage people to enter. Just put something in! Years ago, we would even go around to friends’ gardens, pick their flowers and enter for them. It’s a bit like family. The community just comes together.”
And come together we will.
This year’s new major Sponsor, Home Instead, is offering a prize with a total value of
$500 to the most successful exhibitor in the Pavilion. A $200 cash prize and $300 worth of items from The Bellingen Kitchen Shop. Home Instead is a community-focused business that provides support and care for seniors and their families. Aged Care Advisor Rebecca, and Care Consultant Richard are long-time Bellingen locals who have enjoyed the show with their families for many years and are working alongside owners Scott Marsh and Rod Lewis with a shared passion for connection and community.
“Being involved in events like the Bellingen Show is a great way of bringing everyone together and brings with it such a feeling of fulfillment and community. This past year has been trying for all and even more so for our ageing community members. We hope that by being involved in such important events like the Bellingen Show, we can utilise the opportunity to provide as much information about the support and services available to older people and their families.”
You can pop by The Bellingen Kitchen Shop’s window to check out the display and swoon over your future prizes. (But don’t forget – You’ve got to be in it to win it! And I dare you to enter pickles.) Okay, fine, I’ll let go of the pickles … but not before mentioning that Violet Preston actually taught her grandchildren how to make pickles – and they entered them into the pavilion – and they won!
Speaking of grandchildren – I sat down with school entry manager, community starlight, and outrageously vivacious IGA superstar Jo Barr, to chat about the vital contributions of young people in the Pavilion.
“I put in extra effort to get these kids involved,” Jo says. “I go to the schools; I hype them all up. We get lots of entries in the kid’s section, they’re involved in every avenue of the show. It’s very successful. We as adults are community minded, we bring our kids in, we hope that they learn from us. They see what we are, they see what we do, we pass on our values. It’s so important to keep them involved in the community and communication and we have so many children-focused activities to ensure that happens. Everyone’s a winner on the day, and there’s nothing that makes me prouder than watching a little kid leading out their giant bull with blue ribbons all over it! I love Bellingen, I love the kids, I love the school. The show is such a beautiful thing. It’s something to look forward to. Something wonderful is about to happen!”
So, everyone, grab your kids, your grandparents, and your pickles (sorry!) and gear up for a weekend celebrating the beauty of Bellingen’s unique, crafty, and collaborative community. With Covid in mind, precautions will be taken to ensure the health and safety of all show-goers. Numbers will be monitored by volunteers; and speaking of – if you’d like to be involved in supporting the show, shoot an email to [email protected] For all your show information CLICK HERE
By Pyari Pathania
See you round’ (the show) like a doughnut xx