A show for the whole family

by Andy Bryenton

For 141 years, the yearly Ashburton A&P show has been a red-letter day on the local calendar, bringing town and country together. This year proves no exception to a winning formula, which has lasted since the earliest days of colonial settlement in the area — and indeed, the 2018 programme builds on those previous successes with even more in store.

Ashburton A&P Association president, David Butterick, is positive about the show’s packed roster of things to see and do — as well as this year’s very timely theme. For the 141st Ashburton A&P show, the focus will be on Irrigation the lifeblood of Mid Canterbury.

“I would like to acknowledge and thank the committee members and volunteers for the hours of work that they put in to prepare for and run the annual show,” says Mr Butterick in his welcome to the thousands of visitors who are set to flock through the gates on Oct 26 and 27.

“On behalf of the A&P Association I would like to thank our numerous sponsors for their continued generous support — without them we wouldn’t be able to put on the show.” Those sponsors, exhibitors, volunteers and committee members have certainly pulled out all the stops this year, with a massive programme in store. It would not be a true A&P extravaganza without all the animals, and creatures great and small will be brushed, polished, trained and practised to perfection, with species from Alpacas to chooks making the grade under the eye of vigilant judges. Adding to the fun will be a variety of equine events as well as a local speciality — sheepdog trials. Of course, some of the most legendary dogs in this demanding sport hail from Canterbury and its old ancestral sheep stations.

An A&P show is, above all else, a family day. That’s why among the competitions for adults — from best preserves to biggest veggies, perfect poultry to tenacious shearing feats — there’s also plenty on site for the kids. Moreov+=er, plenty to eat and drink, too. Not to mention highland dancing, magic shows, live music, a massive indoor and outdoor market — really, it may very well take both days to see and experience all that’s on offer.