Drought demands greater support for ‘heart of Warwick’
THE Warwick Show has always been a way to showcase the skills of our region’s producers, but in a challenging year, the event is even more representative of the agricultural industry’s drive to succeed.
Warwick Show and Rodeo Society events and marketing co-ordinator Teilah McKelvey said it was hard to find a farmer, either locally or regionally, not touched by drought this show season.
“The drought is a huge issue for everyone,” she said.
“Producers may not have livestock handy, or not been able to maintain horses or had to sell off.
“We don’t just have locals, we have people travel from afar, and everyone has been affected for months and even years in the lead up.”
It was why last year’s Warwick Miss Showgirl, Autumn Taylor, stressed the importance of continued show support as she passed on her crown on Saturday night.
“As the drought goes on, the importance of the agricultural show grows in significance for our community,” she said.
“It allows people to highlight their achievements, both agriculturally and creatively.
“It brings together a community in a social event that brightens moods and supports relationships.
“The annual agricultural show is more than just fun rides, arts, crafts, cooking and agricultural displays.
“It is a part of the heart of Warwick.”
With the 153rd show less than three weeks away, the show society has built upon sections and created new ones to keep the bustling atmosphere of the event alive.
One such change this year will be the move to cancel the entry fee and prize for the horticultural display.
Local businesses and nurseries will also be able to enter displays in the theme of sustainability.
“We understand it’s hard at the moment, not many people have had any produce,” Mrs McKelvey said.
“Sustainability displays gives them the option to promote ways to move forward and keep gardens and crops alive.”
Another change will be the introduction of the Heritage Bank Food and Wine Feastival.
While the event may seem out of the box to attendees, Mrs McKelvey said it was about promoting agriculture in a way that would attract newcomers.
“We invited vendors from the surrounding areas who have pushed through,” she said.
“We understand there are different demographics and ways people can be involved and food and wine is all involved in agriculture in some aspect.”
A new Sunday wellness day, created in conjunction with Lifeline, aimed at supporting farmers amid challenging conditions, will also bring the show back to its original foundations.
“We try to highlight and showcase each year our produce and livestock and create an opportunity for everyone to come together, not only agriculture but the local community,” Mrs McKelvey said.
“It is a sign of perseverance to push through trying times, and the show is recognition of that.”
As Warwick Miss Showgirl judge and Queensland rural ambassador Myles Newcomb said, the future of regional shows like Warwick’s rested solely on that sign of community acknowledgment.
“We’ve all had childhood memories of going to the local show,” he said.
“If we want to be passing that on to our kids, we need to being carrying it on.”
The Warwick Show runs from March 20–22.
For more information, contact the Warwick Show office on 4661 9060.