Times change but show goes on

SOME aspects may have evolved over the decades but in its 127th year, "The Biggest Little Show on the Coast" continues to entertain.

The Albion Park Show will be held on January 11-12 at Albion Park Showground.

Albion Park Show Society secretary Marilyn Connelly said organisers expected about 7000 people to attend across the two days.

Society life members Colin Cook and Rob Ewin have more than 100 years' show experience between them.

An Oak Flats resident, Mr Cook, 87, served on the committee for 68 years and is currently its historian and groundsman.

Jamberoo's Mr Ewin, 85, was on the committee for 58 years and is now an honorary committeeman.

There might be far more paperwork to fill out these days, but both say the show is a community staple.

Mr Ewin said the city's growth and evolution was mirrored by the show's vibe.

"Albion Park only has a handful of dairy farmers left in the area now, whereas there used to be 117 of them," Mr Ewin said.

"I think every show is the hub of every community - it always has been.

"All the farmers came out and the community all came out, mixed and assimilated.

"The community still unites around this event though."

Mr Cook said the public was less likely to travel from other areas, such as Kiama, Dapto or the Shoalhaven, to attend such events nowadays.

"People don't go as far afield for other shows these days," he said.

Saturday's events will include showjumping, cattle displays, markets, woodchopping, sheep shearing demonstrations, the launch of Shellharbour Relay for Life, announcement of the Tiny Tot, Junior Princess and Showgirl Competition winners, FMX Kaos Motocross, camel races and the always-popular demolition derby.

Sunday's itinerary features horses, art, craft and horticultural displays, a ute show, kids' pet show and more.

Mrs Connelly said in recent years, the event's focus became entertainment-based.

"We try to keep things here that the kids do not see unless they would be on a farm and do it all the time," she said.

She said the greater focus on entertainment was expensive, but recent developments had ensured the show's viability.

"We've never had big sponsors, [although] this year we have," she said.

"We're a bit isolated in our little pocket but … it's a tight-knit community."

Saturday's activities kick off about 8.30am, finishing with fireworks at 9.30pm and closing at 11pm. It will also run from about 8.30am-3pm on Sunday.

The 2014 Shellharbour Relay For Life will also have its official launch at the Albion Park Show on Saturday.

Shellharbour Relay committee chairperson, Tracey Jansen, survivors and Cancer Council NSW volunteers will attend alongside relay volunteers.

The launch will also feature live music, dancers, singers, colouring-in and face-painting.

Relay for Life is a fund-raising festival, honouring those touched by cancer. It will take place at the Albion Park Showground on March 22-23.

Details: visit albionparkshow.org.au.

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