The gates to the Heritage Bank Toowoomba Royal Show will open over three days from Friday April 16 -18 for the highly anticipated event which unfortunately was cancelled last year for the third time in its proud 160 year history.
The Heritage Bank Toowoomba Royal Show CEO Damon Phillips said that last year's cancellation of the event due to COVID cost the Society in the vicinity of $350,000 to $400,000.
"Thanks to Job Keeper we were able to retain most of our staff. We were able to keep the doors open and give 20 odd caravaners who were unable to travel a place to stay," he said.
He said that late last year two very exciting things happened.
"Firstly we approached Clive Berghofer to fund a 5 year capital works program aimed at attracting new events to better secure our financial future " Mr Phillips said.
"Clive committed $2 million of his own personal funds towards our projects. As he said, "without our showgrounds as our community hub, what else as a community do we have?"
"Additionally Toowoomba Regional Council committed $150 000 to the Heritage Bank Toowoomba Royal Show for 2021. The fact is without the Toowoomba Regional Council support we would not be standing here today.
Mr Phillips said the dairy cattle will be judged early in the week, while horses, with almost 1500 entries will start arriving on Thursday and will be judged on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The stud beef cattle with over 200 entries will be judged on Friday and Saturday while the led steers judged on Sunday.
Show dogs will be judged on Thursday, Friday and Saturday while Sheep Dog Trials, with record entries, will be judged from Friday to Sunday.
Other livestock to be judged include meat sheep, poultry and pigs and all will be on display for the three days.
"A number of our livestock competitions were cancelled due to COVID but we will have animals on display such as alpacas, dairy and mohair goats.
"Unfortunately a number of competitions have been cancelled this year including Woodcraft, Inter-home and Apiculture although Handicraft, Cooking, Floriculture, Floral Art, Fine Art, Art in Bark, Photography and Leather have all attracted significant entries.
"Of course any show is not complete without the traditional woodchop and chainsaw competitions.
"For the first time, with the support of the Qld Government, Heritage Bank and Stockyard Beef we will be hosting an Ag Long Lunch each day of the show.
"Local school children will join farmers and industry to share a meal and learn about where their food comes from. Early this year, in partnership with the Mulberry Project we planted a corn crop on site. This will be harvested and enjoyed during the show.
"In addition our very popular Animal Nursery, Working Dairy, Historical Machinery displays and Little Hands on the Farm programs will continue to engage, entertain and educate our patrons.
Queensland Shows has developed a COVID Safe industry plan for all shows in the state. This was a significant step forward to ensure the Qld show circuit kicked off in Stanthorpe in late January.
"We have been working very closely with Qld Health to develop our COVID Safe plan which is currently with the Chief Medical Officer. We are confident that the decision will be made very shortly to increase our capacity above 10,000 patrons per day," Mr Phillips said.
"We have implemented cleaning protocols that will ensure that all amenities are cleaned every hour. There will be COVID Marshalls at all major attractions ensuring protocols are adhered to. There will be over 60 hand sanitising stations located around the grounds.
He said every person entering the grounds will be scanned in and scanned out. We will know exactly who is on the grounds at any one time.
"We will monitor our pavilions and our inside areas to ensure crowd limits are not exceeded. We will have appropriate signage throughout the grounds highlighting the important COVID Safe messaging," he said.
"We are encouraging everyone to pre-purchase their tickets online. Everyone entering the grounds must register. No ticket, No entry. Logistically this has been a significant cost to the society but one that we are very committed to, and we have maintained our ticket prices.
The show holiday will now be Friday 16th April. The show will operate between 9am and 9pm on Friday and Saturday and 9am and 4pm on Sunday.