Last weekend, the small town of Alstonville (where I grew up), held its annual Agricultural Show at the local show ground in the centre of town. I didn’t attend myself, however as they have done for many years now, my mother and sister both submitted a number of entries for judging in various categories of exhibitions.
For the second year in a row, my mother took out first prize for her green coffee, home-grown in the backyard. She was also successful with produce grown in her small, yet impressive household garden. My sister? Well, she entered an astonishing 19 separate categories in the baking section, winning 11, and placing second in a further three. Not surprisingly, she was also awarded a prize for being the most successful exhibitor. Efforts for which they can both be very proud.
It’s an interesting event the local show. Of course as a kid it was all Dagwood dogs and dodgem cars, with the occasional animal event/parade and baking or produce exhibit thrown in for good measure. A simplistic child’s view for sure. The sounds? The ever-familiar tone of the ground announcer, the snorts, thundering hooves and snapping of whips during the trots, as horse and driver careened around the ring. Sadly the harness racing has long since ceased.
In reality though, the annual local show is more than simply an event. In many ways it is symbolic of the community at large, and the role the locals play within it. A show of spirit and goodwill, with a healthy dose of competition between those who enter exhibits for judging.
The involvement of my mother and sister in the local community goes far beyond participating in the show once a year of course, and they have been an active part of the community for many years now. As time goes on it is clear to me they play an important role in weaving the very fabric that holds a small community together.
That being the case, I’d suggest the fabric is a heck of a lot stronger for it, and it is in that fact, and in both of them, which I’m very proud.