Show bigger, better than ever

IT HAD a quiet beginning, but by last night North Coast National Show Society president John Gibson was beginning to suspect this year's show might be the best ever.

After years of work, adjusting the show's program to appeal to an increasingly urban Northern Rivers population, Mr Gibson said this year's event had more stands than ever.

And while there were no official crowd figures available last night, Mr Gibson said there appeared to be a good crowd at the show.

“Tonight's crowd is very, very good,” he said. “We have plenty of people in the grandstands and people waiting for the monster trucks to come on.

“We'll be very happy if it goes on like this. I think it augurs well for a great show.”

More broadly, the initial crowd and the incredible variety of stands and shows at this year's show suggests rumours of the demise of country shows has been well and truly laid to rest.

Walking through the pavilion housing the Sustainable Living Expo, visitors were treated to stalls ranging from a display of cardboard coffins to sheep breeders, and from organic wines to mobile chook sheds.

“What we are trying to do, with the changing demographic ... is we're trying to cater for the needs of those changes,” Mr Gibson said.

“Rather than letting things die, we're catering for the new movement.”

That meant a greatly increased variety of show offerings. Within the space of five minutes, visitors can go from traditional show staples such as cattle and chook shows to horse displays, to live music to artistic displays to things like the Gyuto Buddhist monks creating amazing artworks with sand.

The process of change at the North Coast National is ongoing and Mr Gibson said the next target for the show, after once again inspiring the locals, was to draw in visitors.

“It's about tourism as well,” Mr Gibson said.

“A lot of people are coming to the area on holidays every week and we want to get them to see something that is uniquely Australian.”

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