Southland A&P Show
If you think you know A&P shows, you might be in for a surprise.
On the first Saturday of March each year, the Southland A&P Show bursts into spectacular life at picturesque Donovan Park in Invercargill.
It’s our region, and our people on show.
The show has undergone somewhat of a renaissance in recent years embracing the changing face of Southland’s communities and offering a diverse range of new activities and attractions - building on the heritage and traditions of shows going back more than 150 years.
Livestock and equestrian competitions, trade-site displays, and kids’ activities are the backbone of the traditional show day and play a vital role in bridging the gap between country and town - in the best possible way.
You know it’s going to be a great day out when you’re greeted with wide, welcoming smiles at the front gate.
Kids with painted faces peer through metal railings surrounding the show arena, looking on in wonder, or maybe imagining themselves competing one day.
Contestants beam with pride as ribbons are adorned.
It’s a great chance for urban people to learn a little bit about the incredible effort and knowledge that goes into breeding outstanding animals. You might even get to know your Southdowns from your South Suffolks, and your Friesians from your Jerseys.
Kids leap around the pet zone patting dogs, cuddling rabbits, and gazing at goats.
It’s excitement and discovery for kids, who might not have these opportunities any other day of the year.
Every sense is engaged. A thousand and one things to look at, listen to, and of course taste.
We all know there’s nothing like an A&P Show hot dog.
But guess what? If you’d prefer a kabab, you can get one, the food court has all manner of tasty treats for lunch.
You can even bring a picnic, spread out a blanket, and take in the activity swirling all around you.
And then there’s the baking. Oh, the baking. You know what we’re talking about. That traditional, butter-filled goodness of biscuits, cakes, scones, muffins, and slices.
Crowds lap up performances on the community stage with kapa haka, choirs, dance crews, instrumentalists, bands, and other cultural groups thrilling audiences.
There’s all the fun of the fair with carnival rides to delight little ones - while mum and dad grab a welcome coffee.
It truly is a family day out, grandparents reminisce and mingle with grandchildren, parents chat with friends. Old friends catch up. New friendships are forged.
As the show’s audience has diversified, so too have its offerings with the likes of dog agility displays and sports groups offering demonstrations and activities. Sled dogs’ competitions featuring Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes are a crowd favourite too.
Creativity, new technology and innovation are all on hand. Run your eye over locally produced goods, you’ll be amazed at the array of products and services Southland has up its sleeve. Buying local doesn’t get any better than this.
And the competitions don’t stop with the livestock - the home industries sections are free to enter, and you never know, one of those colourful ribbons might just be reserved for you.
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